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7 Jan, 2009 12:00

Ukraine has shut all gas pipelines to Europe – Gazprom

Gazprom says Ukraine’s shut all 4 pipelines which send gas to Europe, causing several countries to run out of fuel. But Ukraine claims that Russia stopped delivering all gas to Europe through its territory on Wednesday.

Ukraine has turned off the fourth and last gas pipeline transporting gas to Europe, said Aleksandr Medvedev, Gazprom deputy chief executive.

Some countries in Europe have no gas stockpiled. Macedonia has less than a week’s supply and there have been talks of a possible state of emergency in Slovakia, while the situation in Greece is also described as difficult.

The EU has called on Russia and Ukraine to ensure full deliveries of gas to Europe.

The Romanian government says it will contact the Russian government urgently to find out how soon the situation will be resolved. The Romanian authorities are also trying to calm worried citizens by promising them there will be no turning off of heating and the problem will be solved at government level. The country has some supplies stockpiled and also some alternative supply routes.

Gazprom has taken measures to compensate the European customers for the gas it says was stolen by Ukraine, by increasing the amount of fuel going to Europe through Belarus, Poland and Turkey, thereby avoiding Ukraine.

However, Aleksandr Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy chief executive, said the consequences of this gas crisis are too serious:

“None of our efforts can make up for what Ukraine has done by closing its export pipelines.”

“The most cynical thing is that Ukraine is accusing Gazprom of not supplying gas to Ukraine. Every schoolchild knows that sealing one end of a pipe makes it impossible to feed gas into it from the other end. Therefore, the entire responsibility for what is happening is on the Ukrainian part,” he added.

On Tuesday, speaking at a media conference in Berlin, Aleksandr Medvedev said that as independent auditors are still being blocked from working at Ukraine’s gas measuring stations, Gazprom had invited a national resource analysts’ group from Switzerland to measure gas leaving Russia and the gas leaving Ukraine.