Russian gas supplier warned to honour obligations
The head of Russia's monopoly gas supplier was warned today to honour the company's obligations to the European Union or face the loss of reputation and revenues as western customers looked elsewhere.
The warning came amid a flurry of meetings in Brussels involving senior Russian and Ukrainian officials and gas company executives seeking to break the deadlock over blocked supplies, which has spilled over to hit energy deliveries to at least seven EU countries.
Alexey Miller, chief executive of Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled supplier, held talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, while other Gazprom officials sat alongside top brass from Naftogaz, Ukraine's gas company, at talks with MEPs in the European Parliament.
As both meetings went on, Mr Barroso's spokesman Johannes Laitenberger, told journalists: "It is in the interests of Russia and Ukraine - in the interests of Gazprom and Naftogaz - to resolve this situation.
"It is true that the immediate problem is for those whose have lost their gas supplies, but in the medium and long term the problem is with those who are found not to be reliable suppliers.
"This reputation is at risk and that means of course that customers will have to think about alternatives."
In his meeting with Mr Miller, Mr Barroso repeated comments he made yesterday - that the credibility of Russia and Ukraine - were in question as "reliable" partners in their relations with the EU.
He said Brussels was ready to despatch observers to the region immediately to monitor the flow of gas - and also to establish where responsibility lay for reduced supplies to EU countries after Russia turned off the gas tap to Ukraine.
The bulk of EU supplies from Russia come through Ukraine, but Kiev denies Moscow's claim that Ukraine has been siphoning off EU-bound supplies to compensate for the loss of its own deliveries in a row over unpaid bills.
As Mr Miller met Mr Barroso at EU Commission's headquarters, Euro-MPs were meeting in special session to hear from both sides.
One Ukrainian official insisted that Ukraine had paid all of its gas debts, and the head of Naftogaz, Oleh Dubyna, told MEPs the dispute was not political but "purely economic".
Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, chairing the European Parliament meeting, said: "We hope at the end of today we will be able to say that gas supplies to the EU have been restored -but that is the most optimistic scenario.
"The problem is that this dispute has transformed itself into a serious energy crisis affecting homes and industries. We are not here to lay blame, but to see energy supplies restored, in compliance with world trade rules."
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...