Ukraine is sending its own gas to EU states, Kiev says
Ukraine is sending gas from its own reserves to EU states Romania and Hungary to compensate for a fall in supply from Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, Ukraine's gas company said Saturday.
The Naftogaz Ukraine company "increased gas supplies to Romania up to 100,000 cubic metres day and Hungary up to 1.8 million cubic metres per day (mcm/d) taken from gas reserves of Ukraine," a company statement issued in Kiev and Brussels said, dpa reported.
The claim came amid confusion in Central and Eastern Europe over the status of supplies of Russian gas passing to the EU through Ukraine. Some reports say deliveries of gas had reduced, while others said only that gas pressure had fallen.
Russia is the largest supplier of gas to the EU, and 80 per cent of its deliveries pass through Ukraine.
On Thursday, Gazprom shut off gas supplies to Ukraine in a row over pricing, contracts and unpaid bills. Both sides vowed that the dispute would not effect deliveries to Europe.
But Gazprom on Friday accused Ukraine of stealing gas meant for EU customers. Ukraine denied the charges, with Naftogaz saying that it was Gazprom which was failing to live up to its promises.
"In total, as at 12.00 on January 2, 2009, (Naftogaz) was receiving from Gazprom 305.5 mcm/d. Meanwhile, we delivered to our western partners 319.3 mcm/d of gas, that is at 13.8 per cent more than it had been supplied by Gazprom," the statement said.
Each side has been keen to paint the other as the criminal in the dispute, launching diplomatic missions to the EU for that purpose.
However, the EU is reluctant to become involved in the row, saying only that deliveries to its members must continue.