"Russia Tightens Pressure on Ukraine With Rise in Natural Gas Price"

"MOSCOW — Even as American and Russian diplomats groped toward a settlement that would halt further Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Gazprom, the Russian energy company, stepped up the economic pressure on Tuesday by sharply raising the price it charges for natural gas.

Gazprom, a state-controlled gas exporter, raised the price to $385 for 1,000 cubic meters of gas, the standard measure used in gas deals in Europe, from $268, an increase of about 44 percent.

The price increase follows what analysts say is a long practice at Gazprom of punitive pricing for countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe that are at odds politically with Moscow, while offering discounts to governments seen as friendly. The policy is never stated openly, though, and the change on Tuesday was no exception."

Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times April 1, 2014.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014