Russia’s ultimatum is simple: cut off supply to Donetsk and we cut off supply to everyone
This article originally appeared at Zero Hedge
Ukrainian authorities decision to halt gas supplies to Donetsk amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe occurring there “bear the hallmarks of genocide,” blasted Russia’s Vladimir Putin during an awkward press conference with Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades (who he had just agreed bilateral military and trade deals with). “Apparently, some responsible leaders of the modern-day Ukraine are unable to understand the importance of humanitarian issues,” Sputnik News reports Putin concluded. In an attempt to gain leverage and force Ukraine’s hand however, Russia’s Gazprom has indicated it intends to suspend gas deliveries to Ukraine (and thus Europe via pipelines) unless Kiev makes a further prepayment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to halt gas supplies to Donetsk amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe “bear hallmarks of genocide”.
“As if hunger [in Donetsk and Luhansk] was not enough – the OSCE has already stated that the region is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe – they had their gas supplies cut off. What would you call it? I would say this bears the hallmarks of genocide,” he said during a meeting with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
“Apparently, some responsible leaders of the modern-day Ukraine are unable to understand the importance of humanitarian issues. It seems that the very notion of humanism has been forgotten,” he added.
And, in apparently unconnected news, Russia intends to suspend gas deliveries to Ukraine unless Kiev makes a further prepayment as its current balance only covers three or four days’ gas supply, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday…
“Prepayments, made by Ukrainian side, are enough for three – four days. If [further] payment is not made, Gazprom, in compliance with this contract, will halt the [gas] supplies,” Putin said at a press conference.
“Naturally, it may create a certain threat for the transit to Europe,” Putin added.
Ukraine’s state energy company Naftogaz on Monday accused Russia’s Gazprom of failing to deliver the gas for which Kiev had prepaid.
According to a statement by the company’s press service, Gazprom was to deliver 114 cubic meters both on February 22 and February 23 but supplied only 47 and 39 million cubic meters on these dates instead, respectively.
On Tuesday, Gazprom head Alexei Miller, in turn, said that the amount of gas prepaid by Ukraine was estimated at 219 million cubic meters, enough for a couple of days only.
Kiev’s massive gas debt, exceeding $5 billion at the time, forced Moscow to suspend gas deliveries to Ukraine for nearly six months in 2014. Deliveries resumed in early December under the so-called winter package deal, mediated by the European Union and signed by Gazprom and Naftogaz. The deal stipulated that Ukraine must pay Russia in advance for all future gas supplies.
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So, in summary, as UAH crashes into hyperinflation, the IMF (and US taxpayers’) funds will be merely a direct funds transfer from the West to Russia (for gas supply services rendered) and Putin take the ‘eye for an eye’ analogy one step further – cut off supply to Donetsk and we cut off supply to everyone…