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Last Updated: Monday, 2 January 2006, 22:43 GMT
Russia vows to end gas shortage
A gas pipeline in Hungary
Hungary says normal gas supplies have now been restored
Russia says it will pump more gas to Europe after various countries said their supplies had fallen by up to 40% after Moscow cut Ukraine's provision.

France, Italy, Germany and Poland were among those reporting falling volumes.

Russia said it was sending an extra 95m cubic metres a day to make up for gas "stolen" by Ukraine.

Ukraine denies it has siphoned off $25m (15m) worth of gas from a pipeline crossing its territory after Russia cut off its supply in a price dispute.

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom raised the price of 1,000 cubic metres of gas from $50 to $230 and Ukraine refused to pay.

Gazprom is still charging the lower price to some former Soviet countries, though the average price in the EU is $240.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said his country had also been cut off, after refusing to pay $160 per 1,000 cubic metres, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.


European Union energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs told the BBC's World Tonight programme that he was monitoring the situation and invited Russia and Ukraine to resume negotiations.

He said nobody was to blame, but that the situation was complex.

"Ukraine is definitely not able to pay a four times increase of price. It is just not possible if you pay $50... and the next day you should pay $230. You just can't do it," he said.

Ukraine - loses 100% of Russian imports
Hungary - Russian imports down 40%. Now restored
Poland - supply down 14% on Sunday. Seeking to increase supplies from alternative pipe
Austria, Slovakia, Romania - supplies down by a third
Germany - says supplies have fallen, but did not quantify
France - heavy user of Russian gas. Has reported 25-30% drop in supply

EU energy officials are set to discuss the crisis at a meeting on Wednesday.

Kiev says it is being punished for its attempts to become more independent from Moscow and develop stronger ties with the West.

It has accused Russia of resorting to "blackmail" in order to undermine Ukraine's economy.

Ambassadors from Europe, the US and Japan met Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who told them he was willing to go to international arbitration to settle the issue.

Germany, which depends on Russia for 30% of its supplies, has called on Moscow to "act responsibly".

Alexander Medvedev, deputy head of Gazprom, said Ukraine had stolen 100 million cubic metres of gas on Sunday.

Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov said there had been no "unauthorised diversion" of gas.

But he said Ukraine had the right under existing contracts to take a share of gas exported via the Ukrainian pipeline - the main route for Russian exports - and would do so if the temperature fell below -3C.


Gazprom supplies about one-fifth of gas consumed by the European Union.

France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have reported a sharp fall in supplies, of between 25% and 40%.

Full supplies have now been restored to Hungary, after earlier being 40% down, an energy ministry spokesman told Reuters news agency.

Central and eastern Europe's gas pipeline network

The head of Austria's OMV oil and gas group also said the flow of gas was back to normal.

The shortage was being passed on, as affected countries said they would in turn be pumping less gas to customers further down the line, such as Serbia and Bosnia.

Mr Medvedev said Gazprom would carry out checks on gas volumes and "use all possible measures so that Western consumers continue to receive gas as foreseen by contracts".

Ukraine says it is not opposed to an increase in gas prices, if this is phased in gradually, and says taps should be turned back on while negotiations continue.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine have been tense since Mr Yushchenko came to power last year on a promise to strengthen relations with the EU and Nato, and steer the country out of Russia's sphere of influence.

Quantity One-third of EU gas imports, and one-fifth of gas used in EU. Ukrainian pipeline network carries 90% of Gazprom's exports to West and Central Europe.
Big customers (2004) Germany - 38bn cubic metres; Ukraine - 34bn; Italy - 21bn; Turkey - 14bn; France - 12bn
Dependence on Ukrainian pipeline Slovakia - 100% of gas consumed is from Russia; Bulgaria - 94%; Greece - 92%; Czech Rep - 73%; Hungary - 72%; Austria - 63%; Poland - 60%
Alternative pipelines Work is under way to boost capacity of pipeline via Belarus to Poland - in 2006 it could reach 33bn cubic metres per year. A pipeline also carries Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey (16bn cubic metres). Plans exist for a Baltic Sea pipeline, which in 2010 would carry 27bn cubic metres per year to Germany.
Sources: Gazprom, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, European Commission

How the gas row has escalated

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