Leaders of Poland, Ukraine to meet on gas crisis

10:16, 08 January 2009
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In Wisla in southern Poland on Jan. 14

Polish President Lech Kaczynski, an outspoken critic of Russia, has invited his Ukrainian counterpart next week for talks on the gas crisis that has disrupted supplies to Europe, an official said on Tuesday, Guardian reported.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will meet Kaczynski in Wisla in southern Poland on Jan. 14, said Tomasz Brzezinski, an official at Kaczynski`s chancellery.

Earlier in the day, Kaczynski took a swipe at the European Union, which has been divided over how to deal with a more assertive Russia.

"There is the problem of excessively soft politics of the EU towards our Russian partner," he told Radio Zet in an interview when asked to comment on the Kiev-Moscow gas row.

Moscow and Kiev are locked in a dispute over Russian gas exports that has halted supplies to the Balkans and Turkey and sharply reduced deliveries to some other countries. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the crisis.

Kaczynski is a strong supporter of Ukraine`s bid to join the EU and NATO. He also championed Georgia`s cause during that country`s brief war with Russia last summer.

Separately, Poland`s foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski would visit Kiev on Jan. 16 to discuss European energy security and bilateral issues.

Poland, which joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, is keen to bring Ukraine into both Western clubs but Germany, France and others are reluctant to admit the large, impoverished, politically volatile ex-Soviet republic.

Reuters via Guardian

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