President Vladimir Putin said he’s concerned that Ukrainian
radicals could cut supplies of Russian gas to Europe. Energy,
Russia’s strategic sector, shouldn’t be disrupted by politics as
it erodes efficiency and distorts processes, he added.
are seriously concerned by the statements of Ukraine’s radicals,
their straightforward threats to hinder transit to Europe,” Putin
said in his address to energy leaders during the last day of the 18th
International Economic Forum.
hope common sense will prevail and it won’t happen.”
said it was in everybody’s interest “to
make energy cooperation more efficient and mutually beneficial, to
free it from the excessive, unnecessary politicization which is
distorting the economic basis and principles of this strategic
president’s comment comes amid the escalating conflict with
Ukraine, which economically carries the threat of disruptions of
Russia’s gas to Europe.
is Russia’s key trade partner, with the turnover estimated at above
$400 billion, Putin said on Friday.
70 percent of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe, he confirmed.
May 12 head of Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom said that
if Kiev failed to pay its gas bill by June 2, exports to Ukraine
would come to a halt the next day. Such a scenario naturally worries
Brussels, as 50 percent of Europe’s gas supplies enter the
continent via Ukraine from Russian supply lines.
Ukraine’s gas debt stands at about $3.5
Ukraine stopped making regular gas payments to Russia in July 2013.
Russia has tried to provide reprieve to Ukraine's shattered economy
by providing a $3 billion loan to the state as well as a huge gas
discount for the first 3 months of 2014.