Wetherby MP joins delegation for energy talks in conflict-torn Ukraine

Wetherby MP joins delegation for energy talks in conflict-torn Ukraine

Published: 8th May 2014

UkraineWetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke travelled to conflict-torn Ukraine last week as part of a delegation of British MPs in talks on energy security and peace in Europe.

Protests broke out in Ukraine’s capital Kiev in February when the now ousted President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned talks on trade agreements with the European Union in favour of stronger ties with Russia.

Speaking exclusively to the Wetherby News from Ukraine, Mr Shelbrooke said: “Homeowners and businesses in my constituency are already experiencing increased energy costs as a result of high oil and gas prices globally.

“The UK government can do very little to bring down the crude cost of gas globally but it can work to secure stability in Ukraine and reduce the risk of gas shortages, or increased demand on non-Russian gas supplies, across Europe.”

European countries – including the UK – consumed 18.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last year, 30 per cent of which came from Russia with 16 per cent flowing through pipelines in Ukraine.

It is reported that Pro-Russian forces have occupied a number of government buildings in Ukraine, triggering accusations of Russian interference in seeking to seize Crimea from Ukraine.

Fears are growing that a conflict between the West and Russia could lead to higher energy prices for consumers in the UK.

Alec, who last week raised concerns about the UK’s dependence on Russia for fuel, added: “The conflict in Ukraine is escalating at pace and EU Ministers are working together to reduce the risk any further conflict between East and West.

“Our delegation of British MPs witnessed firsthand accounts of government corruption in the country, an issue at the heart of this conflict.

“Britain’s primary interests in the Ukraine are to secure our energy supplies but as an EU member state it’s in all our interests for a quick peaceful resolve to this conflict.”

British Foreign Secretary and Yorkshire MP, William Hague, continues peace talks in Ukraine as EU and US Foreign Ministers discuss further sanctions.