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Russia Says Ukraine Has 'Stolen' $25 Million Of Gas --> (RFE/RL) 2 January 2006 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko says his country is doing everything to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to European countries, despite accusations from Russia that Ukraine is stealing gas in transit.

In a statement issued after a meeting with ambassadors from the EU, Japan, and the United States in Kyiv, Yushchenko said Ukraine is "respecting all international agreements, including the transit of Russian gas to Europe."

Yesterday, Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom cut off domestic gas supplies to Ukraine after the two sides failed to agree on prices for 2006.

Russia's Gazprom says it is pumping additional gas through its pipelines to ensure its European customers are fully supplied, in the face of what it calls Ukraine's "theft" of transit gas, according to Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov.

But in a news conference today, Gazprom Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Medvedev accused Kyiv of siphoning off gas from transit pipelines meant for the rest of Europe:

"I would like to make public the amount of gas stolen from the export pipe by Ukraine on January 1. It is about 100 million cubic meters of gas worth more than $25 million at market prices."

Several European countries today said they noticed a substantial fall in gas deliveries. Germany, Austria, Slovakia, France, and Italy -- among others -- say their supplies of Russian natural gas coming via Ukraine have dropped by 25 to 40 percent.

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana today called for a quick "negotiated solution" to the standoff between Ukraine and Russia.


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