Ukraine wanted gas crisis – investigators

AFP Photo / Genia Savilov
Kiev deliberately sabotaged talks with Moscow on a new gas contract, says the head of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission investigating the dispute.

According to the preliminary report released on Friday, Gazprom and Naftogaz were close to sealing a deal on gas prices for Ukraine and transit to Europe in late December.

But at the eleventh hour, Naftogaz head Oleg Dubina was called back to Kiev before a new contract could be signed.

“It was proved that the Ukrainian side was involved in a coordinated effort to ruin contract talks and provoke a gas conflict,” commission head Inna Bogoslovskaya said.

The ensuing row, the worst-ever between Russia and a transit country, left more then a dozen European countries short of or without gas for two weeks during a cold winter.

It also damaged the reputations of both Ukraine and Russia as reliable energy partners.

Bogoslovskaya added that the contract eventually signed on January 19 were unfavourable to Ukraine and ‘betrayed her national interests’.

She said the commission will call on the General Prosecutor’s Office to launch criminal cases against those responsible.

The commission also rejected Russia’s accusations that Ukraine stole gas. Moscow claimed Ukraine was tapping into supplies intended for Europe and shut off the taps altogether, saying the gas was not getting to its intended recipients anyway.

Bogoslovskaya said: “Ukraine took 52 million cubic meters of Russian gas from the pipe, but it was soon returned.”

The Ukrainian Parliament, the Rada, set up the commission shortly after the gas conflict was resolved. Its aim was to “investigate the operation of the country’s gas transportation system” and control the transit of Russian gas to Europe.