Enjoy this battlefield report.
Narrator: Ukraine is not to blame for Europe’s freezing. To get this point across to the European Union, President Yushchenko decided [Wednesday] to raise the gas issue in Poland. In a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczyński, Yushchenko stated that the gas transit applications that Russia has been sending during the last two days cannot be fulfilled by the Ukrainian gas transit system technologically. Only if Russia provides 55 billion cubic meters of gas [annually] will the transit to Europe be renewed. Ukraine is ready to prove its non-involvement in the illegal siphoning of Russian gas in a court of law.
President Yushchenko: Ukraine has no complicity whatsoever in the non-delivery of Russian gas to European consumers. We do not accept any charges on this account. If our partners from Russia have any proof of this issue, we ask them to go to court, to a court of arbitration, as the existing agreement stipulates. The Ukrainian side did not turn off any technological faucets, did not take any steps whatsoever that would block the supply of Russian gas to Europe.
Narrator: The President of Poland, after a two-hour eye-to-eye conversation with Viktor Yushchenko, said that Poland trusts that Ukraine is not to blame for the gas conflict. Because the Polish side has not suffered in the conflict, Lech Kaczyński said that the country intends to sue neither Ukraine nor Russia.
One can hardly consider Ukraine beyond blame as long as we have middlemen like RosUkrEnergo that lack transparency.
But the brunt of the blame indeed goes to Russia. Ukraine cannot deliver the gas that Russia keeps playing with while dreaming of that pipeline.
Yushchenko called Medvedev Thursday, requesting that Russia supply 330 mcm of “technological” gas to ensure circulation in the pipeline and facilitate transit to Europe. (Putin later denied Ukraine’s request, suggesting that the matter could be resolved by an international consortium that would lease Ukraine’s pipeline or privatize it.)
Medvedev counter-offered that Ukraine supply Europe from its own reserves and swap those supplies for incoming Russian gas later. (Ukraine has not accepted this counteroffer.)
Russia wants Ukraine to pay $450/mcm and calls for a gas summit to be held in Moscow.
Ukraine, in turn, quotes the following price range, which it bases on Gazprom’s contracts with neighboring EU countries:
$192.6/mcm at a transit rate of $2.2/mcm/100 km
$218.8/mcm at a transit rate of $2.47/mcm/100 km
$235/mcm at a transit rate of $3.6/mcm/100 km
$250/mcm at a transit rate of $4.0/mcm/100 km
Ukraine also appeals to Russia to reach an interim agreement that would spell out the quantities of “technological” gas, and the mutually acceptable routes, needed for gas transit to Europe. As a gesture of goodwill, President Yushchenko said this:
President Yushchenko: Ukraine guarantees [the transit of] 300-410 million cubic meters of gas to consumers in Europe — even without a transit contract, even without charging transit fees until the matter is fully resolved — to secure the supply of this gas to European consumers.
Some believe PM Tymoshenko will fly to Moscow Saturday to break the ice and claim credit for the breakthrough — sponsored by Putin — who bet on her in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.
So far, Tymoshenko has not broken the patriotic line held together with Yushchenko.
PM Tymoshenko: 18 billion cubic meters of gas [reserves] make it possible for us to hold talks in absolute tranquility today, to hammer out, in absolute tranquility, a set of contracts between Ukraine and Russia that would completely secure the implementation of the  memorandum signed between the governments of Ukraine and Russia. 18 billion cubic meters of gas will be enough for us to hold such talks in a calm state of mind, without undue haste.
I can only add that unless Ukraine speaks with one voice, there will be no win-win.
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