Europe's Putin Problem
Ukraine, Russia, and the EU Strike Gas Deal

European officials have helped broker a deal between Ukraine and Russia that will guarantee natural gas deliveries this winter. The European Commission announced the agreement:

The European Commission, the Russian Federation and Ukraine have agreed on the terms of gas deliveries to Ukraine for the upcoming winter period from the 1st of October until the end of March 2016. They have initialised the binding protocol and submitted it to the respective governments for confirmation.

Vice-President Šefčovič said: “The agreement on the terms of the new Winter Package is a crucial step towards ensuring that Ukraine has sufficient gas supplies in the coming winter and that there is no threat to the continued reliable gas transit from Russia to the EU. The initialising demonstrates that both parties live up to their roles as reliable partners in the gas business. I am confident that the agreement will be soon confirmed and smoothly implemented for the benefit of all parties concerned.”

The deal will ensure that Europe gets the gas it needs through Ukraine, which has committed to secure transit through its territory. Russia, for its part, has agreed to price the gas for the Ukrainian market at levels comparable to those offered to Ukraine’s neighbors. It’s yet one more sign that President Vladimir Putin is currently keen to normalize relations with Europe in hopes of having some of the EU’s sectoral sanctions lifted when they come up for renewal in January.

Meanwhile, an August Pew study making the rounds on Twitter today shows that a large majority of Europeans have no confidence that Putin will “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

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