Ukraine crisis: Moscow threatens to cut gas supplies to Europe in retaliation for sanctions
Oliver Poole is an award-winning Foreign Correspondent for the Evening Standard and Independent titles. In his career he has reported from war zones including Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq, where he was based during the worst years of the civil war. He has written two books, "Red Zone: Five Bloody Years in Baghdad' and 'Black Knights: On the Bloody Road to Baghdad'. He was previously a Foreign Reporter for The Daily Telegraph, and has written for the BBC, Guardian, Times and South China Morning Post.
Sunday 23 March 2014
The prospect of a European energy crisis loomed last night as Moscow threatened to impose retaliatory sanctions, and the new Prime Minister of Ukraine said his country could suffer shortages if help was not received from the West.
Russia supplies 30 per cent of Europe's gas and a number of the Baltic states are almost entirely reliant on Russia.
Yesterday, the Russian foreign ministry labelled this week's EU sanctions, in which a further 12 people close to President Vladimir Putin have had their assets frozen and a travel ban imposed, as "divorced from reality".
With both Brussels and Washington now threatening further "targeted measures" this week, Moscow made it clear that it was considering tit-for-tat sanctions. "Russia reserves the right to give an adequate response to the undertaken action," a spokesman said.
Ukraine's Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, highlighted precarious energy supplies during a visit to Berlin, saying gas from the EU might be needed. He has previously said he fears Moscow plans to use energy as a "new nuclear weapon" to intimidate its neighbours.
In 2006, when Russia cut off supplies over a dispute with Ukraine over gas prices, many parts of Europe ran out of gas. Bulgaria shut down its main industrial plants, and Slovakia declared a state of emergency. The situation is now far less worrying. Reserves are high and Europe's gas supply system has improved following a £1.3bn investment. G7 leaders will meet in The Hague tomorrow, and energy security and Ukraine's national elections on 25 May are due to be on the agenda.
Yesterday, as Russian troops stormed the last remaining Ukrainian-held airbase in Crimea, more than 5,000 people gathered in the eastern city of Donetsk to demand a referendum on whether they, too, could split and join Russia.
Last night, the Foreign Office issued new advice warning against "all but essential" travel to Donetsk, as well as Lugansk and Kharkiv due to "regional tensions".
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Isis in Syria: 60,000 Kurds flee terror in new exodus
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
4Chan naked photos leak: Celebrity Twitter reactions to the mass breach of privacy
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...
£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Corporate Commercial Soli...
£110 - £155 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: An excellent, last minute opp...