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Ukraine, Moldova Ask EU To Help With Russian Gas Dispute


The Solokhovskoe gas field near Poltava, Ukraine (epa) 3 January 2006 -- The EU's energy comissioner says Ukraine and Moldova have formally asked the EU to help in negotiations with Russia over gas prices.


Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told Reuters that the two countries "called upon the EU to take initiative in facilitating in the negotiation process between Ukraine and Moldova and (the) Russian Federation."


Earlier, Piebalgs said Russia's reputation has suffered as a result of Moscow's "hasty decision" to cut gas supplies to Ukraine because of a pricing dispute. And he said the crisis had shown that the European Union is “vulnerable” to gas shortages.


Russian and Ukranian gas officials are to meet later today, while EU energy officials have scheduled an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss how to react to the crisis.


European consumers have reported that gas supplies are back to normal today after Gazprom boosted deliveries to compensate for earlier reductions.


Gazprom has accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas meant for Europe, for its own use.


(AP/Reuters)

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