* EU's Barroso says new gas crisis possible in weeks
* Barroso says EU has no budget to help Ukraine
* Barroso says international banks willing to assist
(Adds Tymoshenko quotes, detail)
By Darren Ennis and Pete Harrison
BRUSSELS, June 19 The European Union will not
help Ukraine pay for Russian gas imports but international
financial institutions may help avert a looming crisis, European
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
"That is not our responsibility, I should make that clear,"
Barroso told reporters when asked about EU help at a summit of
leaders on Friday.
Barroso warned heads of state that Ukraine's financial
difficulties might lead to Russia cutting off gas supplies next
month, including gas intended for transit to Europe, just as it
did in January during a mid-winter pricing dispute.
"There is the risk of another major gas crisis in weeks," he
later told reporters.
Russia supplies about 25 percent of EU gas consumption and
about 80 percent of those supplies flow to Europe through
Ukraine's pipeline network.
Barroso told leaders he spoke on Thursday with international
agencies including the International Monetary Fund and European
gas companies to find a way through the impasse.
"IFIs (International Financial Institutions) and the
European gas companies said they were willing... to help provide
stop-gap funding," he said, according to speaking notes seen by
Separately, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said
individual consumers were paying 85 percent of their gas bills
but local energy and utility companies were paying no more than
30 percent, aggravating the debts of state gas company Naftogaz.
"How can the government and Naftogaz do conjuring tricks in
settling accounts with Russia for gas when within the country
there are 26 billion hryvnias ($3.4 billion) in debts for gas?"
she told local officials in Ukraine.
"That is the total which is to be paid for gas which we
consume for the whole year and the figure is rising every month,
and turning into a national tragedy."
Naftogaz says it will struggle to pay future bills and needs
to raise credits worth about $4.2 billion, which it hopes will
come from European banks.
But it also says large-scale borrowing can be avoided if
European gas companies buy gas from Russia and store it in
Ukraine to help avert a new crisis.
German utility RWE (RWEG.DE) expressed interest in Ukraine's
idea and said it had put proposals on the table. But Germany's
biggest gas company E.ON (EONGn.DE) Ruhrgas ruled such plans
European industry group Eurogas said it was still consulting
its members and could not yet gauge their response.
(Additional reporting by Ron Popeski, Tom Kaeckenhoff and
Mark John; writing by Pete Harrison, editing by Mark Trevelyan)