Moscow and Kiev separately signed agreements with the European Union this weekend to set up international monitoring at gas inlets and outlets in both countries. Russia said it had to receive a copy of Ukraine's monitoring document with the EU to resume supplies.
Ukraine put forward certain demands that run counter to Russia's position when it signed the monitoring deal with the EU, adding a handwritten note that attached an additional declaration to the document.
"Such conditions make a mockery of common sense and are a violation of agreements we reached earlier," President Dmitry Medvedev said. "Such actions are meant to thwart the agreement to monitor the gas transits - they are blatantly provocative and destructive."
"The text, to have it straight, provokes utter astonishment because it partially contains false statements, including a theory that Ukraine has not tapped any gas, and that all Russian gas was transited to Europe, while its other half consists of statements running contrary to the context of the agreement we signed with the European Union," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with the president.
Medvedev instructed Lavrov to "inform Russia's European partners that they are facing quite a difficult situation, and that we would ask them to hold talks with the Ukrainian government so that it drop the new conditions."
The president said gas supplies would then be resumed. International monitors are already arriving at gas transit inlets and outlets in both Ukraine and Russia.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin slammed as unacceptable any amendments to the gas transit deal signed by Russia, Ukraine and the EU.
Speaking by telephone to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Putin said Kiev's new demands drastically changed the three-party agreement and dealt with commercial disputes between Russia and Ukraine rather than the transit of gas to Europe.
Putin also proposed sending Russian energy officials to a meeting of EU energy ministers set for Brussels on Monday.
"Our representatives are ready to voice and explain Russia's position in full," Putin told Barroso.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
This war would most probably not be precipitated not by direct actions of the Russian or Ukrainian governments. The more likely cause is the clash of rival armed volunteer groups on the streets of eastern Ukraine, which would lead to the progressive involvement of armed forces on either side.