US VICE President Joe Biden discussed the crisis in Ukraine with the leaders of Montenegro and Slovakia on April 9, the AP newswire reported. Observers say the call took place as Slovakia’s attitude over the reverse gas flow seemed unclear.
After meeting Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic in the White House, where Russia’s pressure on Ukraine was one of the topics, Biden spoke by phone with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. The leaders discussed concerns about Russia violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and the upcoming elections in Ukraine, according to the AP.
Biden thanked Slovakia for helping Ukraine diversify its energy supply, which western nations see as key to reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, AP wrote.
“Biden sent a signal that they also consider the reverse gas flow an extremely important matter in Washington,” Alexander Duleba from the Slovak Foreign Policy Association told the Sme daily.
Though Fico assured Biden that Slovakia is ready to help Ukraine, some time ago he spoke of guarantees that the investment will be returned, Sme wrote.
Slovakia could secure a reverse gas flow from the EU to Ukraine, which would help lower the latter’s dependence on gas supplies from Russia, the SITA newswire wrote. This could be a solution for Ukraine after Russian gas giant Gazprom raised the price of gas for Ukraine by 80 percent, which Ukraine is unable to pay. Kiev deems the price hike a form of political pressure, SITA wrote.
Meanwhile, the government gave a mandate to Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák for talks with Ukraine over the deliveries of gas via Slovakia. He told journalists that he will present Slovakia’s official stance to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan, the TASR newswire reported.
The minister reiterated that Slovakia has several objections to Prodan’s recent statements, like accusing Slovakia of blocking the launch of reverse gas flows to Ukraine.
14. Apr 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff