Russia’s Gazprom Halts Ukrainian Gas

Gazprom, the behemoth Russian energy corporation, has said “nyet” to Ukraine. It announced Monday that it will no longer supply the country with natural gas because it failed to meet a 10 a.m. deadline—imposed by Moscow—to make a $2 billion payment. Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said, rather curtly, that the company would no longer allow Ukraine to receive gas on credit. “Gazprom supplies to Ukraine only the amount that has been paid for, and the amount that has been paid for is zero.” Russia owns 50.01 percent of Gazprom, but the company maintains, of course, that the decision to cut off the Ukraine is a matter of finance, not politics. Pretty much everyone else in the international community, including Ukraine, believes otherwise. Gazprom’s move could have far-reaching effects throughout Europe, as one-fifth of the European Union’s natural-gas supply moves through Ukraine. Gazprom had already increased the price of natural gas after Ukrainians overthrew their pro-Russian government in February. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk said “This is not about gas. This is a general plan for the destruction of Ukraine.”