Poland goes gassy?
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Medvedev to Talk Energy in 'Breakthrough' Polish Visit (Update2)
2010-12-03 14:57:33.63 GMT
(Adds Russian prosecutors handing over Katyn documents in
By Lyubov Pronina and Katya Andrusz
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- President Dmitry Medvedev will
oversee agreements on energy and innovation in what Russia sees
a "breakthrough" visit to Poland next week as the two historic
enemies seek to improve ties.
Medvedev's foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko went
further to say that Russia expects "very positive and even
breakthrough results" from the two-day visit that starts Dec.
6, he told reporters in Moscow. "The two sides are ready to
solidify the current positive tendencies in bilateral
Medvedev, 45, will hold talks with his 58-year-old Polish
counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk
in Warsaw and lead a Russian delegation set to sign agreements
on energy cooperation, sea transport and pollution in the Baltic
Sea. Poland imports two-thirds of its gas supplies from Russia,
and the two countries completed an agreement in October that
will increase deliveries by as much as 38 percent.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and Alexei Miller,
chief executive officer of gas export monopoly OAO Gazprom, will
accompany Medvedev. Vagit Alekperov, CEO of Russia's second-
largest oil producer, OAO Lukoil, and Sergei Kiriyenko, head of
state-owned nuclear holding Rosatom Corp. will also join the
'Tea or Sugar'
"The Russians and Poles need to sort out their energy
issues," said Krzysztof Bobinski, president of the Warsaw-based
research foundation Unia & Polska. "Russia should just start
treating gas as a product like tea or sugar and stop using it as
a geopolitical weapon."
Gazprom and Poland's state-controlled distributor, Polskie
Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, on Oct. 29 signed
an agreement that will increase gas deliveries to Poland to
10.24 billion cubic meters by 2022 from 7.45 billion cubic
meters under the previous contract.
PGNiG has repeatedly said it would seek lower prices from
Gazprom after securing the long-term supply deal. Customers such
as Dusseldorf-based E.ON Ruhrgas AG and Rome-based Eni SpA
earlier this year obtained lower spot prices for the period
"I don't exclude" that gas prices will be discussed next
week, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters
today in Warsaw. Radoslaw Dudzinski, PGNiG's deputy chief
executive officer, said today by phone he "wouldn't rule out
that the topic will be raised during the visit."
Next week's talks, which take place one day ahead of the
Russia-European Union summit in Brussels, will also cover
Poland's involvement in the U.S.-led missile defense initiative,
U.S. President Barack Obama in September 2009 canceled
plans by former President George W. Bush to locate parts of a
missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic in favor of a
solution closer to Russian proposals for a joint system.
Medvedev, speaking in his annual state-of-the-nation
address Nov. 30, said a new arms race could break out within the
next decade unless Russia reaches an agreement with the U.S. and
its allies on a joint missile-defense shield.
The U.S. sent a battery of Patriot missiles and their crews
to northern Poland in May for the first stage of a rotating,
two-year deployment. The Russian Foreign Ministry said at the
time that the location of the missiles, about 70 kilometers (44
miles) from Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, wouldn't improve
security or help build relations in the region.
"Poland should have the best possible relations with its
neighbors, so it's good Medvedev is coming," Bobinski said.
"But a healthy sense of skepticism is necessary where Russia is
The leaders will also discuss the release of further
documents on the 1940 slaying of 22,000 Polish officers and
officials by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's secret police in the
Katyn forest and several other sites.
Relations between the two countries improved after an April
10 plane crash near Smolensk, in western Russia, that killed
President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 officials who were
flying there to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn
massacre. Medvedev braved a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland
that closed airspace throughout Europe to attend Kaczynski's
burial in Krakow.
The State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament,
late last month approved a text declaring that Stalin personally
ordered the killings in 1940. The Russian General Prosecutor's
Office has handed over more Katyn documents to Polish
authorities, the Kremlin said on its website today.
Russia and Poland will also consider boosting investment
projects. Russia holds $1.85 billion of investments in Poland,
mostly in the energy industry, according to the Kremlin.
"For us, the 45 years of Communism imposed from the east
were a deep national trauma," Sikorski said. "Now I think that
20 years after we regained our freedom, we're feeling more
confident, and that's why normalization is possible."
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--With assistance from Marek Strzelecki in Warsaw. Editors:
David McQuaid, Willy Morris
To contact the reporters on this story:
Lyubov Pronina in Moscow at +7-495-771-7732 at
Katya Andrusz at +48-22-433-4468 or
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Willy Morris at +44-207-673-2254 or