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EU Gas Supplies Down As Ukraine, Russia Trade Blame

Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko
The European Commission says deliveries of natural gas from Russia have fallen in eight countries -- Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia -- as temperatures plunged to new lows in a weeklong cold snap.

The commission said Austria and Italy had seen deliveries fall by 30 and 24 percent, respectively, noting that stocks were not at an "emergency" level.

On February 2, Russian fuel giant Gazprom said it had increased its gas supplies to not only Europe, but also to Belarus and Ukraine.

It also suggested that Ukraine was siphoning off gas destined for European consumers.

Ukraine, however, is blaming Russia for natural-gas shortages.

Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko said on February 3 that Russia was shipping some 15 percent less gas than usual because of increased domestic consumption.

More than 80 percent of Russian gas deliveries to the EU travel through Ukraine's pipeline network.