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Russia halts gas to Ukraine; Hungary’s supply secure

World

Russia has stopped sending gas to Ukraine, officials announced today, but Hungary’s gas supply is secure according to National Development Minister Miklós Seszták.

The Russian fuel company Gazprom claims that Kiev owes $4.5 bln in back bills, and that is why shipments to Ukraine will be cut off.

The rest of Europe is to continue receiving its regular gas supply, but that supply is piped through Ukraine. Naftogaz Ukrainy, the Ukrainian gas company, has said that it may be forced to siphon gas from the pipline, potentially causing service interruptions in the European Union.

Hungary has no need to worry according to Minister Seszták. He said that gas can be delivered to the country from Austria, and the country has been building up its gas reserves for the last couple of months, to make sure there is a surplus.

"Gas supplies to Ukraine have been reduced to zero," Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said today. Although Gazprom had been giving Ukraine time to pay its debt, which arrangement was made under the previous prime minister, who had the political support of Moscow.

The two parties said chances are slim that they will resolve the problem through mutual agreement. Following the cut-off, both Gazprom and Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz filed lawsuits against each other in the Stockholm arbitration institute.

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