Putin on the Heat

From The New York Times:

MOSCOW — A European Union-brokered deal between Russia and Ukraine to restore the flow of heating fuel to the Continent seemed to be falling apart Sunday evening, less than a day after it had been signed, with Moscow objecting to conditions that Ukraine attached to the agreement after Russia had already signed it.

Original DVD cover.

In what appeared to be a first step toward resolving a dispute that has cut off about one-fifth of the natural gas used in Europe, at the peak of the winter heating season, the governments of Russia and Ukraine and the European Union agreed to establish independent monitors of pipelines that carry Russian gas to the west.

The protocol was a precondition set by Russian energy officials to turn on the gas flow again. Russia shut off the valves on Tuesday after an extended dispute with Ukraine over pricing and accusations of stealing gas from the export pipelines.

In a flurry of shuttle diplomacy over the weekend, the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, secured the signature of Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, in Moscow and then flew to Kiev, where Ukraine’s prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, also signed the agreement.

Yet by late Sunday, the off-again-on-again deal appeared to be off again. Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he would not honor the pact.

At issue was a handwritten phrase that Ms. Tymoshenko wrote beside her signature early Sunday morning, after the document had already been signed by Mr. Putin. In English, she wrote, “with declaration attached.”

Ms. Tymoshenko’s declaration, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, said that Ukraine had not been guilty of stealing gas from the export pipelines, a statement essentially asking Moscow to backpedal on the allegation that had underpinned its justification for halting shipments to Europe.


Mr. Putin, in a phone call on Sunday to [European Commission President José Manuel] Barroso, said Russia would not accept conditions added after he had signed the protocol, Interfax reported.

Seeking to sooth Russian concerns, Mr. Topolanek called Mr. Putin to say that Ms. Tymoshenko’s declaration was not binding. Later Sunday, Mr. Barroso said Ms. Tymoshenko had agreed to address Russian concerns over her statement with the goal of restoring gas flows to Europe, Reuters reported.

A spokesman for Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, said the company’s chief executive, Aleksei B. Miller, would fly to Brussels on Monday to continue negotiations.

(Is Gazprom Russian for Enron?)

Even once an agreement is in place, it may be days before relief comes to European countries down the line from Ukraine, especially Poland and Bulgaria, which have suffered greatly without heating fuel in the bitter winter weather.

If Russia immediately turned on the flow, it would take about three days to repressurize the European natural gas pipeline system and restore full service, experts said. And the underlying price dispute has still not been resolved.

Of course, there was lots of smack talk back and forth, but it looks like they’ve kissed and made up to some extent. Here’s the latest from Thaindian News:

Brussels/Moscow/Kiev, Jan 12 (DPA) The European Union (EU) expects gas supplies from Russia to resume Tuesday morning, officials in Brussels said Monday following the signing of an accord on a gas monitoring mission in Russia and Ukraine.


Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said that assuming there are no further “obstacles”, deliveries should resume “at 8 a.m. European time”.


The EU-brokered deal on the deployment of international monitors in Russia and Ukraine had edged on the brink of failure over the weekend, when Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko attached a declaration next to her signature on the initial agreement, drawing protest from Russia.

Gazprom and Barroso’s office both confirmed Monday that Timoshenko had since removed the declaration.

But experts note that a series of divisive issues still need to be addressed before the dispute can be fully resolved.

These concern payments for gas needed to raise pressure in Ukraine’s pipeline system after the embargo ends, Ukraine’s possible obligation to Russia of $600 million in fines, Russia’s possible obligation to Ukraine for gas supplied to Bulgaria and Moldova, and how long the EU observer mission will operate in Ukraine.

The EU-brokered monitoring deal is also silent on the underlying cause of the Russo-Ukrainian gas crisis: the absence of a contract between the two countries for natural gas deliveries and onward transportation to Europe.


Russia has pledged to renew the flow of gas to Europe once it is in possession of a finalised copy of the accord and the mission of gas experts is in place at compressor stations along Ukraine’s border – a key control necessary to stem alleged Ukrainian theft of gas meant for Europe, it says.


Filed under humor, movies, parody, Poland, politics, Russia, snark, Vladimir Putin, Wordpress Political Blogs

24 responses to “Putin on the Heat

  1. Alfie

    #1…You show some depth here Nonnie that I really like,especially seeing as it’s my guys that are usually making the covers.
    #2 I’m surprised Yulia stepped out of line against Uncle Vlad. I wonder if it’s all show since she otherwise seems hand in hand w/ Moscow on throwing the Ukraine and poor crater faced Yushchenko under the bus.
    #3 (Is Gazprom Russian for Enron?) No Enron was a front screwing everyone Gazprom is a front that actually truly owns everyone.
    #4 EU trying to come off like they care about anything other than their own body temps hahahaha.
    Keep doing that u do Nonns

  2. hi again, otto mann!
    i left a comment over at your place a little while ago.

    stick around, and you will learn that i am all about the drama. 😉

  3. hey alfie!
    happy new year! 😀 always nice to see you.

    i stepped outside my comfort zone and covered politics outside the good old u.s. of a., even though i have little expertise, as i cannot see russia from my house. 😉 (i can’t help myself, alfie!) what can i say, i just can’t resist a story about pootie-poot.

    thank you so much for your explanation about gazprom. i was informed and entertained by it. 😆

  4. Time for a video game parody.

    In A.D. 2009
    War was beginning.
    EU: What happen ?
    Ukraine: Somebody set up us the gas.
    Operator: We get signal.
    EU: What !
    Operator: Main screen turn on.
    EU: It’s you !!
    GAZPROM: How are you gentlemen !!
    GAZPROM: All your gas are belong to us.
    GAZPROM: You are on the way to destruction.
    EU: What you say !!
    GAZPROM: You have no chance to survive make your time.
    GAZPROM: Ha ha ha ha ….

  5. neon vincent,
    i am totally ignorant when it comes to video games. i stopped playing them after tetris. i am so unbelievably bad at them. however, gazprom does sound like it could be a character in a video game or a sci-fi film–a hybrid between a giant robot and some kind of insect–and it would speak just as you say it would.

  6. thanks, neon vincent. i’ve seen that sentence structure used snarkily before. now i finally know where it originated.

  7. Nice call, Neon.

    All your raisin are bewrong tu us.
    For great justice.

    (My first blog, ERoad, http://www.krugerocks.com/ERoad/
    which is still buried (but abandoned) inside my art site, has as a byline: “All Your Road Are Belong To Us.” That silly little line always makes me laugh. 😀

  8. go ahead, everyone point at me and call me stoopit for not knowing about video games and phrases that stem from them. it’s okay, i can take it. 😥

  9. nightowl724

    pootie-poot looks so natural in that hat! HAHAHAHA! You crack me up, nonnie.

    PS I don’t know anything about video games, either, except how to pay for one when my son buys it. And, the rest is mystery!

  10. nightowl,
    i thought the same thing. pootie-poot should wear a hat all the time.

    i guess i don’t have the eye-hand coordination to do well at video games. either that, or i don’t like them enough to actually sit down and try to play them well. maybe both.

  11. Dusty

    Nonnie, thanks for this writeup, its the most comprehensive I have read on the issue.

  12. dusty,
    it seems that the soap opera continues. teeth are chattering while russia blames the ukraine, and the ukraine blames russia. i hope all that frantic finger-pointing is keeping everyone warm.

  13. You might have to learn something about video games, as Obama plays Nintendo Bowling on the Wii with his daughters.

    From Wired: http://blog.wired.com/games/2009/01/obama-daughters.html
    By Chris Kohler

    Those adorable Obama kids got a Wii for Christmas, says the New York Times, and Dad’s been playing too.

    Mr. Obama said he’d have his hands full attempting to rescue the American economy. But he has gotten in a little practice in bowling lately on the Nintendo Wii his daughters received for Christmas. Mr. Obama, who famously struggled in bowling during last year’s Democratic primaries, said he performs better in the video game.

    We all do, Mr. President-Elect. I got my parents a Wii for Christmas. Maybe you guys can all hang out.

    BTW, he also knows “All your base are belong to us.”

  14. You might even have to pursue geekier interests to keep up with Obama. He’s a comic book collector and an avid fan of Spiderman. Marvel even wrote him into their latest issue.

    Comics break their solemn if unmade vow not to have political opinions

    Obama is even on the cover. How about that for raw material?

  15. Also, Obama’s a Star Trek Fan. My advice, start looking for images from Star Trek: Voyager, particularly of Tuvok. *Evil Grin*

  16. neon vincent,
    i saw the spiderman comic. i used to be a huge comic book fan, and i had hundreds of them. that was many years ago, and i am not a fan of the newer comics. i prefer the old artwork. i did do a collection of comic book covers over at american street on super tuesday.

    by the way, neon vincent, you have just become the official science fiction (and science fact, for that matter) adviser to the raisin. aren’t you proud? 😉

  17. Thank you, Nonnie. I’m bursting my buttons, I’m so proud!