October 6, 2014

What Does the EU Have to Do with the Russian Gas for Ukraine?

Bohdan Sokolovskyi

October 1, 2014, it was announced that on 3 October in Brussels will be held a bilateral meeting EU-Ukraine on Russian gas for Ukraine. Well, it is not clear how the EU can talk about Russian gas for Ukraine (and how our representatives can hear something at this) at the time when the Russian military aggression is carried out against our country? It is good that the EU was present at the tripartite negotiations on gas. There it was, we believe, given the role of a witness. But what is its role in bilateral negotiations? Can anyone imagine Ukraine's presence, let's say, at Russia's negotiations with Germany and Slovakia on the supply of Russian gas? Obviously not: neither Germans nor Slovaks, as well as anyone else would sit down at the negotiating table with anyone in the presence of a witness. It turns out that we, Ukrainians, inviting witnesses to negotiations, a priori agree that we are bunglers, unable to defend our own interests, or what?!

It would be logical if the talks were with the EU about political support in the matter of giving Ukraine a non-Russian gas. And even such negotiations would be not for publicity, but classified as «secret». What do we have in reality? Even in the information for the media it is pointed out that the theme relates exactly to the Russian gas!

Of course, this should not be seen as some kind of a claim in relation to the EU. Perhaps it should even be thanked for assistance. But should Ukraine stoop to such extent?!

Is it not clear that Moscow is «working out» the system of «gas pressure» on our Western partners, in order to at least have handy serious levers of influence on Ukraine through intermediaries in other industries too! In particular, one can expect the «oil pressure». After all, we import oil products (petrol and diesel), mainly from Belarus, Romania, Poland. As a rule, from their refineries or from Russian ones. Anyway, these refineries are supplied with Russian oil. What are we supposed to do if the Russians, as it happened with the gas, limit the supply of oil to Belarusians, Romanians or Poles with the condition not to ship oil to Ukraine? With what will we replace the 7 million tons of oil we need? How will this affect our social peace? With this problem, unfortunately, no one can cope within one year. No matter how reliable the foreign policy and support could be. This is not gas, due to the shortage of which Ukrainians' homes could just be cold, and oligarchs would not have enough raw materials (of course, with all kinds of negative consequences), but there would be no collapse of the state.

And, unfortunately, the Kremlin has plenty of such levers.

Maybe we should talk about THIS with the EU? Perhaps we need to prepare in advance to all sorts of neighbor «tricks”? Or will we as usual force ourselves to believe in fables about «brotherly peoples”?