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12 Nov, 2009 09:33

New chapter of gas crisis on the horizon

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned Europe about the possible eruption of a new gas dispute with Ukraine.

After talks with the Austrian Chancellor, he said Russia will cut gas supplies to Ukraine if it starts unauthorized siphoning of fuel from pipelines.

Speaking with journalists Putin confirmed Russia can guarantee Europe uninterrupted supplies but only if transit states weren’t taking gas out of the system.

“If our partners pay us for the domestic consumption of gas, they will receive this gas. If they don't pay – they won't receive it. If they don't receive it – then, most likely they will take it from the export gas pipeline. As soon as they start taking it – we will decrease the amount of gas we ship.”

Russia’s Prime minister says Ukraine does have the money to pay for gas and to prevent disruptions. Konstantin Simonov, head of the National Energy Security Fund says that political games are getting in the way of business.

“We know that the reserves of Ukraine are a little bit less than $30 billion. In December they must pay around $600 million. Ukraine really has enough money to pay all debts. It’s only the political decision of Yuschenko. His rating now is 3 percent. For him it’s impossible to be re-elected without any crisis or war. It can be the only possibility for him to organize another gas war and say – you see how dangerous Russia is.”

Prime Minister Putin repeated that the advent of new gas supply routes – including Nord Stream and South Stream – will serve to discipline countries that transit Russian gas and will increase the stability and reliability of supply. Russia and Austria will finalize an agreement to work together on the South Stream pipeline as soon as possible.