The impasse poses a serious energy dilemma for the Ukrainian government, which imported up to 70 percent of its gas and 65 percent of its oil requirements in 2011. Ukraine is by far the biggest consumer of gas in the central European region, but it has been unable to resolve a problem that started with independence and reached an acute level in 2006 and 2009 (see, for example, Jonathan Stern, “Natural Gas Security Problems in Europe: the Russian-Ukrainian Crisis of 2006,” Asia Pacific Review, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2006): 32-59) .
There are a number of issues at stake.
First, there is the economic and political relationship between Ukraine and Russia. The latter country is adamant that Ukraine should join its Eurasian Economic Community and that in order for the price of gas to be lowered, it must make some concessions, such as the sale to Russia of Naftohaz, Ukraine’s national oil and gas company.