Gas dispute has EU nervous

The Ukrainian government has agreed to allow European Union technical observers into the country to...

A train pasts snow-covered rails in Berlin, Germany. Picture: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The Ukrainian government has agreed to allow European Union technical observers into the country to monitor gas supplies.

This after exports from <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on">Russia</country-region> to Europe, via <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Ukraine, </country-region>were stopped aimd a long-running dispute over unpaid bills.

The row comes amid a cold snap across <place w:st="on">Europe that’s likely to push up the demand for gas.

The EU depends on <country-region w:st="on">Russia</country-region> for about a quarter of its gas supplies, most of which is pumped through the <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Ukraine</country-region>.

Director of <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">London’s Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Jonathan Stern, said plummeting temperatures along with a gas shortage may have catastrophic consequences.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>