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Workers weld a segment of the Baltic Sea gas pipeline, which will connect Russia with Germany (file photo) (epa)
Brussels, 11 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- European Union parliamentarians today accused Russia of triggering the recent gas crisis with Ukraine for political purposes.
Several European nations saw sharp declines in their natural gas supplies in early January after Russia cut off deliveries to Ukraine over a price dispute.
Polish Socialist lawmaker Marek Siwiec told the European Parliament's committee on relations with Ukraine that "for the first time, a 'gas weapon' was used by Russia against the EU on this scale."
Speaking to RFE/RL, he said that "this is a very European problem and the problem of Ukraine can be a problem of another European country or the European Union in the future, because what Moscow has presented is part of the imperialist policy of this country."
He also said that, one year after the Orange Revolution that brought Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko to power, "Russia wants to reverse history."
Dutch conservative Camiel Eurlings said the gas crisis was a "wake-up call," showing that Europe needs to look for alternative energy sources.
Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, Roman Shpek, told European lawmakers that Kyiv needs the prospect of EU membership to help it overcome political and economic challenges from Moscow.