Friday, February 20, 2015

Russia Starts to Supply Ukraine Separatists with Gas


MOSCOW – Russia on Thursday started to supply pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine with natural gas, adducing “humanitarian” reasons, after an agreement was reached with authorities of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, who had earlier accused Kiev of cutting off gas delivery to these regions.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday ordered the nation’s gas consortium Gazprom to pump 12 million cubic meters per day to the conflict-torn areas.

Medvedev said: “There is a problem related to natural gas deliveries caused by the Ukrainian authorities’ decision, which has not yet been reversed. In any case, people must not freeze there.”

Medvedev’s spokesperson confirmed that gas supplies will be provided “on a commercial basis.”

Russia started to pump the natural gas shortly before 15:00 GMT, after Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday cut off gas delivery to rebel-controlled areas.

The separatist Prime Minister of Luhansk, Gennady Tsipkalov, explained that the Moscow-Stavropol pipeline passes through Luhansk, adding that the area’s gas needs reach up to 5 million cubic meters per day, while in Donetsk they reach up to 7 million daily cubic meters, without taking into account the industrial demand for the resource.

Separatist authorities in Luhansk said that the area would witness a “new ice age” if it did not obtain gas within a few hours.

Luhansk’s chief negotiator, Vladislav Deinego, said that gas reserves would only last “until lunchtime,” terming the situation a “clear violation” of the peace agreements signed in Minsk.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian state company Naftogaz said the reason for cutting delivery to the two separatist regions was the damage sustained by the pipelines during the battles that took place between governmental forces and pro-Russian separatists.

The gas company added that, for the time being, resuming gas deliveries would not be possible, due to the ongoing military operations in the region; however, Naftogaz said it was willing to send maintenance technicians to the area once the fighting ends.


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