By my calculation European customers have been denied Russian gas for almost 10 days. It was on 7th January that Gazprom shut off the gas valves on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
President Yushchenko's official website states [in English] that today: "President Victor Yushchenko had a phone conversation with European Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs.
Victor Yushchenko informed Andris Piebalgs about the situation with Russian gas transit to Europe.
He stressed that issues of supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine and transit of gas to European customers are connected with each other and should be considered simultaneously.
Andris Piebalgs from his part suggested a temporary mechanism of pumping technological gas into gas transit system of Ukraine by European gas companies." [The last sentence sounds a bit "cockeyed" to me - presidential secretariat's translators - you are rubbish.]
The Ukrainian version of the same posting reads rather differently, and includes the following:
"EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs proposed a temporary mechanism for providing supplies of gas with the inclusion of European gas companies, who would in their turn, settle the question of supply of technological gas.
The Ukrainian head of state confirmed his readiness to consider in detail the proposals being prepared by European gas companies."
So it looks as if big European utility companies will pay for the transit of their Russian gas over Ukrainian territory - which, by eliminating the 'technological gas' question, weakens Naftohaz Ukrainy's chokehold on the transit system ...
PM Yulia Tymoshenko is off to see Vladimir Putin tomorrow. Her statement, posted on the Ukrainian government portal, in good English, is here. It is worth reading carefully..