Here's a portion of President Putin's speech delivered at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, February 10, 2007.
"Moreover, all that we have done and are doing is designed to achieve only one goal, namely to transfer our relations with consumers and countries that transport our energy, to market-based, transparent principles and long-term contracts.
I will remind you and my colleague, the President of Ukraine, who is sitting opposite from me, also knows this: for fifteen years prior to 2006, as long as we did not make the corresponding decisions during our difficult talks, deliveries of Russian energy and, first and foremost, of gas to Europe, depended on the conditions and prices for the deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine itself. And this was something that Ukraine and Russia agreed among themselves. And if we reached no agreement, then all European consumers would sit there with no gas. Would you like to see this happen? I don’t think so.
And despite all the scandals, the protection of interests, and differences of opinion we were able to come to an agreement with President Yushchenko.
I consider that he made a responsible, absolutely correct and market-oriented decision. We signed separate contracts for the delivery of our gas to Ukraine, and for delivering Russian gas to Europe for the next five years. You should thank us, both Russia and Ukraine, for this decision."
'We were able to come to an agreement with President Yushchenko'....to do what? - To employ a monopolist middleman, RosUkrEnergo, to supply all of Ukraine's natural gas imports from Russia and other Central Asian countries, including Turkmenistan.
RUE's website claims the company "guarantees gas deliveries to Ukraine at a price that suits the economy of this country." As RUE is a monopolist supplier, how can Ukrainian consumers be sure of this? RUE earnings are running at around $0.5Bn per month.
Two presidents in Munich. [Photo from Unian]