By Laura Barron-Lopez - 04/02/14 11:58 AM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. and European Union are working to help Ukraine bring in natural gas from other countries to counter a squeeze from Russia.
Even as the U.S. and Russia are working to reach an agreement that would prevent further Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Kerry during a meeting Wednesday with the EU blasted Russia's intervention and move to restrict Ukraine and Europe's energy supply.
On Tuesday, Russia's state-controlled energy company, Gazprom, increased the price of natural gas it charges Ukraine, adding urgency to U.S.-EU efforts.
"It really boils down to this: No nation should use energy to stymie a people's aspirations," Kerry said on Wednesday. "It should not be used as a weapon. And we can't allow it to be used as political weapon or as an instrument for aggression."
Kerry detailed the alternative measures the U.S. and EU are pushing for Ukraine to receive a steady flow of natural gas.
Ukraine recently committed to the International Monetary Fund that it will act on its energy subsidies to improve its energy market, allowing the country to bring in natural gas form Poland and Hungary through a route via Slovakia.
"So our agenda today, or at least part of it, is going to be to look at how do we get more natural gas through what folks call the southern corridor, from Azerbaijan to Turkey and on to Europe," Kerry said."There are also other opportunities, including [liquefied natural gas] terminals planned across Europe, and pipelines that can get gas to customers."
Kerry said the situation underscored the need by the U.S. and EU to diversify their own energy supplies, crediting President Obama's climate action plan for pushing the U.S. toward a variety of energy sources.
Kerry said the U.S. was on track to ramp up global gas exports in 2015.