On January 10 scores of Russian media featured stories claiming that Ukraine had doubled or even tripled its gas consumption due to severe winter temperatures. Russia’s national press Agency TASS is the source of this story. TASS in turn cites the Ukrainian gas transit company Ukrtransgaz as its source for these claims. TASS suggests that despite Ukraine’s reassurance that it has sufficient gas reserves; it may in fact not have enough for the entire winter season.

Website screenshot TASS

NTV, Vesti EkonomikaLenta.ru, Trud all carried this fake story.

Website screenshot vestifinance.ru

Website screenshot ntv.ru

Website screenshot Lenta.ru

StopFake reached out to Ukrtransgaz to fact check these claims.

According to company spokesman Maksym Bilyavsky, TASS’s claims are inaccurate and manipulative. Russian media is claiming is that Ukraine has doubled the amount of gas taken from its underground storage facilities. To get an accurate picture of gas consumption, we need to compare how much gas Ukrainians actually used during any given period with the same period in previous years, Bilyavsky pointed out.  As of January 7, 2017 Ukraine had taken 90 million cubic meters of gas from its underground storage facilities, compared with 137 million cubic meters for the same period last year.

According to Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz, Ukraine’s 2016 gas consumption decreased by 19% compared to last year and by 45% compared to 2014.

Ukraine has not imported gas from Russia for over a year, a fact that Naftogaz proudly posted on its website last November. Naftogas keeps a running clock that counts the days the country has gone without importing Russian gas.