Yesterday we warned that the honeymoon is over as Ukraine expects gas prices to rise 40% as Russian discounts fade. Today it appears the situation is even worse:
- *NAFTOGAZ, GAZPROM TALKS FOR MARCH 20-21 CANCELLED: INTERFAX
- *UKRAINE POLICE DETAINS NAFTOGAZ CHAIRMAN BAKULIN: AVAKOV
- *UKRAINE NAFTOGAZ RAID PART OF CORRUPTION PROBE, AVAKOV SAYS
The issues up for debate, of course, are supply and pricing of gas from Russia and the payment for over $2bn of existing debt owed. While Interfax reports that this was because the Ukraine gas company executive was unable to leave the country, which now appears due to corruption allegations ("there's corruption going on here?") but merely exacerbates any Russian gas retaliation concerns.
Talks originally planned to take place on March 20 and March 21 between Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy and Russian gas giant OJSC Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) have fallen through at the last minute, a source from the Ukrainian government told Interfax.
"The Naftogaz Ukrainy delegation was prepared to fly out [for the meeting], but the head of the company [Naftogaz Ukrainy] was not allowed to leave the country at the last minute," the source said.
The main issues to be discussed were supposed to be the purchase and transit of natural gas, as well as the payment schedule for existing debt.
The source said this concerned a personal ban on leaving the country for Naftogaz's CEO Yevgeny Bakulin.
What is certain, is that the struggling population, most of whom never wanted the recent political overhaul and were quite happy with life as it was, will suddenly demand a return to the living standards under the old, if "horrible" regime, and demand an even quicker overhaul of the current administration.
Something Putin knows all too well.
Why does he know it? Because current events are a carbon copy of what happened in 2007 that led to the infamous 2008 Ukrainian political crisis.