The European Union (EU) has warned of winter gas shortages after Russia and Ukraine failed to reach an agreement over their price dispute.
European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned on Monday that the 28-nation bloc could face gas shortages during the coming winter after Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine earlier in the day as a deadline for Kiev to settle its debts passed without a payment.
“The next weeks will not be a problem… we would have a problem with a cold winter,” said Oettinger.
The development also came after the latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine over their gas-pricing dispute came to an end without results in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Sunday.
Moscow had called on Kiev to make a USD 1.95-billion payment of its 5.2-billion debts by June 16.
Both countries filed lawsuits at Stockholm Arbitration Court, accusing each other of violating the terms of previous deals.
Ukraine has rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer of the “final price” of USD 385 per 1,000 cubic meters, saying it would pay USD 326. Kiev has refused to pay for natural gas upfront as a protest to Russia’s decision in April to almost double former gas prices. Russia’s gas giant Gazprom raised the price of gas for Ukrainian consumers to USD 485 per 1,000 cubic meters from USD 268 for the first quarter of 2014.
Russia provides about half of Ukraine’s and 30 percent of Europe’s total gas demand through major pipelines in the Ukrainian territory.
Ukraine says Kremlin increased the price after former Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in February. Kiev calls the move politically motivated, but Russian authorities reject the claim.
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