Ukraine rejects gas offer, defying Putin’s warning
MOSCOW -Agence France-Presse
European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger walks past Ukraine Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan as he addresses the media at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, June 11. AP PhotoUkraine rejects gas offer, defying Putin’s warning rebuffed a gas price offer from Russia, despite President Vladimir Putin warning that this would escalate the dispute, as key EU-mediated talks ended in stalemate on June 11.
The high-stakes negotiations in Brussels ended without a deal after five hours of haggling over a bitter gas feud which has seen Moscow threaten to cut supplies to Ukraine.
The talks are being closely watched to see if both sides really want to bring some sort of closure to an unprecedented stand-off that began with pro-EU protests in Kiev in November.
If successful, they would build on efforts by Kyiv’s new President Petro Poroshenko to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, wracked by separatist violence which has left some 270 dead in two months, according to Ukraine’s health ministry.
However despite growing optimism among diplomats that the crisis is abating, the two sides dug in on their positions, trading barbs after talks on June 11.
“If our offer is rejected then we will shift to a whole other level,” Putin told a government meeting in Moscow. “That is not our choice and we do not want that.”
The Russian strongman said Russia was offering Kiev a $100 “discount” for a final price of $385 per 1,000 cubic metres and accused Kyiv of driving the negotiations into a “dead end” by demanding further reductions.
However Ukraine Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said that Kyiv could not accept an offer that could easily be withdrawn if Moscow changed its mind.