Russia and Ukraine put an end to their controversies regarding natural gas pricing. Ukraine will pay more, but less than what Russia had demanded at the beginning. That is the good news. The bad news is that the West did not take sides in the outcome.
Gazprom had requested to increase gas prices up to 400% for a Ukraine which is facing financial difficulties. Since Kiev was dependant upon Russia by 30% of its gas, Russia was then expecting to consolidate its presence in Ukraine, undermine the pro-western policy of Víktor Yushchenko and punish the rapprochement of Ukraine to the West. However, Ukraine counterattacked by claiming its sovereignty over the Kerch strait and authorized NATO ships to sail in the Sea of Azov. Ukraine also threatened to withdraw from the CIS. Russia then threatened back, and by doing that, Gazprom showed that it was just a Kremlin’s instrument. The company had ascertained it was willing to adjust its prices as per the World Bank, but it failed to do so with Belarus, an allied of Vladimir Putin. The Russian President was seen as an extorter of funds.
The European Union only assisted Ukraine because its gas supply was compromised and feared a cold winter. The West should do more to help Ukraine and exploit Russia’s ambitions in the international arena and WTO to soothe Russia-Ukraine relations.

Los Angeles Times (United States)

Russia’s thuggery backfires”, by Rajan Menon and Oles M. Smolansky, Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2006.