Support The Moscow Times!

Kremlin Pressures Ukraine to Join Alliance

A top Russian official said Saturday that Ukraine would continue paying a high price for natural gas imports unless it joined a Moscow-dominated alliance.

Kiev, which relies on Russian natural gas for most of its energy needs, has long been courting Moscow to get a discount for gas imports since a 2009 agreement significantly increased the natural gas price.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told an international conference in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Yalta that Ukraine may expect a discount only if it joins a Russia-dominated economic alliance. Ukraine has resisted such overtures, fearing that membership in the Moscow-led customs union would scuttle its hopes of closer ties with the EU.

"If [Ukraine] wants beneficial relations with Russia, maybe the customs union is the choice," Dvorkovich said. "People should understand that all disagreements, all barriers, all administrative restrictions, and all misunderstandings among countries come with a cost."

Moscow opposes Kiev's efforts to integrate into the European Union and move away from the Kremlin's sphere of influence. So far Kiev has resisted offers to join the customs union, and Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshin said that Ukraine's pro-Western course is not a subject of negotiations.

"Cheap gas for the cost of Ukraine's European strategy is not a choice for us," Voloshin said.

Related articles:

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more