Ukraine has announced that it intends temporarily to stop buying gas from Russia on April 1 as its current deal expires on that date.
Although Kyiv is normally heavily reliant on Russian gas, it started to diversify and increased imports from the European Union as tensions with its eastern neighbour escalated last Spring.
Ukraine’s Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn, said: “ We don’t have any necessity to buy Russian gas. There is no justification to buy gas at a higher price than that which we are paying to Europe. so I think we’ll just stop buying it.”
Due to falling world market prices and the EU imports, Kyiv believes it’s in a stronger bargaining position than before with Moscow, however it still needs some Russian gas and is holding out for a discount.
The European Commission is mediating a new round of talks for a longer term deal. With Europe getting a third of its gas from Russia via transit of Ukraine, any disruption to Kyiv’s supply is a major concern to the EU.