After their talks on the sidelines of a major conference in Milan yesterday, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko separately announced that they have worked out the basics of a deal to get gas to Ukraine at least for the brutal winter months ahead. Reuters reports on Poroshenko’s anouncement:
Russia and Ukraine have agreed the outlines of a contract to resolve their dispute over gas supplies, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Friday after a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of France and Germany.“We have agreed on the main parameters of the (gas) contract,” Poroshenko told reporters after the talks at the margins of a summit of Asian and European leaders in Milan.
The Reuters report on Putin’s side of things is essentially the same, but with one conspicuous addition at the end:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko had agreed on the terms of Russian natural gas supplies “at least for the winter period”.He also said that Ukraine was short of money and he hoped Kiev’s western partners would help it overcome its cash deficit.
So it looks like some kind of interim deal is in the works; for the people who only want to heat their homes and take hot showers, that’s great news. But make no mistake, this is no win for Ukraine or for Europe. It’s one of the goals Putin has been angling for all along: The West is going to be putting money into his pocket to solve a short-term crisis, and there’s no long-term solution in sight. It didn’t have to be this way.