PM: Ukraine ready to supply gas to Europe
Tymoshenko said Ukraine...
Ukraine is ready to send natural gas to Europe immediately if it receives deliveries from Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Wednesday, according to Xinhua.
"If the gas is supplied today, it will be immediately pumped to European countries," Tymoshenko said at a meeting with her Slovak counterpart Robert Fico, who is in Kiev for talks on resuming gas supplies to Europe.
Tymoshenko said Ukraine was "ready to cooperate with Russia," stressing that Ukraine is a reliable gas supply partner for Russia and the European Union (EU).
However, she stopped short of saying when Slovakia would get Russian gas.
For his part, Fico urged Tymoshenko to hold direct talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on resuming gas supplies to the EU.
Russia`s state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom started pumping gas to Europe Tuesday morning with EU observers monitoring the process at a cross-border gas distribution station.
But some EU countries continued to grapple with the cold winter without heating as no Russian gas reached its EU destinations.
Russia accused Ukraine of blocking the transit of gas while Ukraine argued Russia`s choice of gas route was technically "unacceptable" as it would require Ukraine to cut domestic consumers out before it can deliver gas to the Balkans.
Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1 after the two sides failed to reach a new deal for 2009 and resolve debt issues. Tensions built up when Russia shut off all gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine on Jan. 7, accusing Ukraine of stealing gas.
Ukraine on Monday signed a new deal on monitoring Russian gas transit to Europe, removing conditions that Russia had opposed and clearing the final obstacle for Russia to resume gas supplies to Europe.