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Russia Should Let EU Fix Ukraine Grid, Regulator Says

LONDON (Reuters) -- Russia should let European companies take responsibility and pay for transporting its gas across Ukraine, because political tensions between the two neighbors threaten regular gas supply problems for Europe, the head of Austrian energy regulator E-Control has said.

Russia broke off talks with Ukraine after Kiev angered the Kremlin by asking European Union investors to help modernize its gas pipeline network, which supplies one-fifth of Europe's gas.

Walter Boltz, head of E-Control and vice chairman of the European Regulator's Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) told Reuters that economic and political problems between the two could spark another gas crisis before next winter.

"I think there is a realistic chance that even before that we have some problems again...We are in a very delicate situation," he said, pointing to Ukraine's financial problems.

"It has to be a European solution, because the current model, where Russia is basically responsible commercially for the transit is overlaid by all this political background," he said.