MOSCOW, April 8 (PRIME) – Oil prices are rising over the increased geopolitical risks triggered by a new wave of mass protests in Ukraine and the strained tensions between Kiev and Moscow, trading results showed Tuesday.
The price of May futures for North Sea Brent Crude rose by 0.5 percent to $106.36 a barrel by 3.23 p.m. Moscow time. The price for May futures of high-gravity WTI oil rose by 0.84 percent to reach $101.3 a barrel.
For the past two days, pro-federalization rallies have taken place in three major cities of eastern Ukraine: Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk. Activists waving Russian flags have demanded referendums on the status of their regions. And on Monday, protesters in Kharkiv and Donetsk proclaimed the creation of independent republics in the two regions.
Since February’s regime change, Ukraine has been having trouble paying its bills for oil and gas imported from Russia. Russian energy giant Gazprom announced Tuesday that it had not received payments for March deliveries from Ukraine’s state-run Naftogas. At present, Ukraine owes Russia $2.2 billion for gas supplies.
The country received a significant discount for Russian gas under a 2010 deal in exchange for extending a basing agreement for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. In December, Ukraine received another gas discount, which cut the price to $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. The discount was cancelled in late March because of Kiev’s failure to pay its gas debt.