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KIEV, February 20. /TASS/. The decision by Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz to halt gas supplies to Donbas on Thursday is "the Ukrainian government’s PR action and hysteria," experts said on Friday.
"There is no economic motive in this move and no technology. This is somewhat a hysterical reaction, which is frequently demonstrated by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk," Director of Ukraine’s Expert Council analytical center Iskander Khisamov said at a roundtable discussion in reply to a question by TASS news agency about the degree of politicizing the issue of gas supplies to south-east Ukraine.
"What is frightening is that the top leaders [of Ukraine] frequently lose adequacy under the blows of fate or resort to PR-actions and statements," Khisamov said.
Social scientist and founder of Research and Branding Group Yevgeny Kopatko said the move to halt gas supplies to south-east Ukraine was both a PR-action and a "real economy."
"This case has showed that gas can flow into the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions bypassing Ukraine. This is already a technological aspect. This is not only a PR-action but also a real economy," the expert added.
Director of the Ukrainian Institute of Political Analysis and Management Ruslan Bortnik said this case actually tested Russia’s ability "to supply energy products directly and, moreover, at Ukraine’s expense."
"It has turned out that Russia is capable of supplying this gas through Prokhorovka and Platovo [gas metering stations in the Rostov Region] directly, similar to electricity supplies," the expert said.
This fact has made Ukraine promptly rectify faults and "Ukrainian gas is again flowing into these territories," the expert said.
Ukraine’s Naftogaz halted on February 19 gas supplies to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, saying the suspension had been prompted by "critical damage" done to the pipelines.
After Kiev suspended gas supplies to Donbas, Gazprom activated its Prokhorovka and Platovo gas metering stations to start supplying 12 million cubic meters of natural gas a day to south-east Ukraine as part of its gas contract with Naftogaz.
Several hours later, the Ukrainian authorities said they had restored damaged pipes and resumed gas supplies to Donbas.
Naftogaz head Andrei Kobolev has said the Ukrainian national energy company cannot check whether or not gas was supplied from Russia.
"We cannot check these supplies. There is no control there over the volume of gas supplied to these territories from Russia. There are no representatives from among the Ukrainian and Russian sides that can control the number of deliveries," the Naftogaz head said.
"Naftogaz will not pay this bill and we believe this bill contradicts the contract [between Naftogaz and Gazprom]," the head of the Ukrainian national energy company said.
Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said on Friday the Russian gas giant had increased gas supplies to Ukraine in accordance with an application from Naftogaz, including through Prokhorovka and Platovo.