Brussels - Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Wednesday called the head of the European Union's executive to set out her country's position in its gas row with Russia, less than two hours after her Russian counterpart did the same, EU officials said.
Tymoshenko called European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso to "inform him about the negotiations over the gas supply to Ukraine and the possible consequences for Europe," a statement released in Brussels said.
Just 90 minutes earlier, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had called Barroso and "explained the gas-supply problems between Russia and Ukraine and the possible consequences for Europe," an earlier statement said.
The calls came as Russia and Ukraine traded tit-for-tat accusations, with each side warning that the other could create gas shortages in Western Europe if Russian gas monopolist Gazprom shuts off gas supplies to Ukraine over a billing dispute.
Barroso "thanked Tymoshenko for the information," while the Ukrainian leader assured him that there would be "no gas-supply interruption for European clients," the statement said.
Exactly three years ago, Gazprom unexpectedly shut off gas supplies to Ukraine in a similar row, provoking sudden gas shortages in much of the EU.
The scandal severely damaged the images of both Gazprom and Ukraine as a reliable gas supplier and a reliable transit route respectively.
Since the incident, EU attention has focused on finding alternative sources of gas supplies and alternative delivery routes to reduce the bloc's reliance on either side. (dpa)