It looks like it might be an uncomfortable winter again in Ukraine this year. This from Gideon Rachman's blog
It is quite rare for a senior politician to start a speech by announcing to the audience that he hasn’t taken a shower that morning. But that was the opening line deployed by Hryhoriy Nemyria, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, when I saw him speak in Kiev yesterday. He was not making a point about his personal hygiene. Rather he was highlighting the fact that half of Kiev has been without hot water for the last week or so. The vice prime-minister blamed mismanagement by the mayor of Kiev - a political opponent, as it happens. Whoever is at fault, it’s a pretty grisly situation. The temperature outside is minus seven.
And it might get worse, if Russian cuts off the gas supplies again. On that ever-simmering dispute
, the FT has some advice
Ukraine could do much more to stabilise its end of the business. Instead of constantly casting itself as a victim of Russian bullying, it should bolster its bargaining position. First, it should pay its gas debts on time so that arrears do not, as they always do, become a weapon in Gazprom’s hands. Next, it must finish the half-complete reform of the domestic market so that gas flows transparently to consumers in one direction and cash flows back, in accountable ways, in the other. Finally, Kiev, in co-operation with Moscow, must fulfil pledges to cut intermediaries out of the wholesale trade and strike a direct deal with Gazprom.
-- Luke Allnutt