Russian energy giant Gazprom has announced a more than 40 percent increase in the price of gas exports to Ukraine, scrapping a previous discount amid mounting strains between the two countries. Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said in a statement today, the debt currently owed by Ukraine to Gazprom, amounts to 1.7 billion dollars.
The gas price rise by Gazprom although widely expected, is a new blow to the Ukrainian economy which needs an international rescue to stave off the risk of default. Europe currently receives about a third of its gas needs from Russia. While the current crisis has prompted new calls for a diversification of energy sources, there is little chance of this happening fast.