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Russia alarmed over new EU pact

Posted by Kris Roman on May 22, 2009

EU-Russische top 2009Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned the European Union not to turn a proposed partnership with former Soviet countries against Moscow.

Mr Medvedev was speaking at the end of a Russia-EU summit held against a background of deep divisions over security, trade and energy supplies.

He also signalled a new gas crisis may lie ahead, suggesting Ukraine lacks the money to pay for gas Russia provides.

A row over prices severely affected supplies to Europe in January.

The BBC’s Richard Galpin in Moscow says divisions between Russia and the European Union seem to be growing ever wider, and this latest summit, held in the far east of Russia, made that abundantly clear, with little sign of progress on any significant topic.

 

EU gas import 2009“We would not want the Eastern Partnership to turn into partnership against Russia. There are various examples,” Mr Mevedev told a news conference at the end of the summit.

“I would simply not want this partnership to consolidate certain individual states, which are of an anti-Russian bent, with other European states,” he said.

Moscow has accused the 27-member bloc of creating new dividing lines in Europe by offering closer ties to six former Soviet republics.

The Eastern Partnership Initiative aims to forge close political and economic ties in exchange for democratic reforms.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed up to the initiative, which seeks to bolster stability in the region.

However it does not offer the prospect of eventual EU membership.

Divisive issue

On the divisive issue of energy supplies, President Medvedev raised questions about whether Ukraine can afford billions of dollars to top up its gas stocks.

“We have doubts about Ukraine’s ability to pay,” he said. He also proposed that Moscow and the EU should help Ukraine get a loan for gas payments. Ukraine has denied there is any problem.

Russia supplies 42% of EU gas imports. Its decision to cut all gas to Ukraine – a vital transit country – meant that many EU member states also lost their supplies of gas for two weeks in January.

Speaking in Khabarovsk, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned there should be no more disruptions to gas supplies from Russia.

Source : BBC news

 

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