On Thursday, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavitsky said that the Ukraine ceased buying natural gas from Europe; instead, it’d purchase it solely from Russia, as it offers the lowest prices. He said that Russian gas is “the most profitable [supply option] for today”. Kiev bought gas from Poland and Hungary over the last two years and was close to striking another gas deal with Slovakia in a bid to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies, amidst political tension over the Ukraine’s previous policy of gradual economic alignment with Europe. In November, most observers expected the Ukraine to sign an association agreement with the EU, but Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich dropped the deal at the last minute, instead, negotiating a 15 billion USD (500 billion Roubles. 16.3 billion CAD. 16.9 billion AUD. 11.1 billion Euros. 9.2 billion UK Pounds) aid package and gas discount agreement with Russia in December. Russia agreed to drop its gas prices for the Ukraine from 400 USD (13,316 Roubles. 435 CAD. 450 AUD. 295 Euros. 244 UK Pounds) per 1,000 cubic metres (35,315 cubic feet) to 268 USD (8,922 Roubles. 291 CAD. 302 AUD. 198 Euros. 164 UK Pounds) starting 1 January, in a deal between Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz and Russian gas giant Gazprom formalised on Thursday. According to the agreement, the partners must confirm the new price level confirmed every quarter, giving financial advantage to Moscow to deter Kiev from seeking closer ties with the EU in future. On Wednesday, UNIAN reported that the Ukraine stopped buying European gas at the start of January, citing operational data from gas transmission systems in Hungary and Poland.
10 January 2014