Gazprom: Ukraine signs new gas deal

Agreement could see Russia resume gas supplies to Europe in the coming days.

    The dispute has meant many Europeans are without heating during freezing winter weather [AFP]

    Ukraine had signed a deal on Sunday but made amendements to the deal declaring that Kiev had not siphoned off European-bound gas as Moscow had claimed and had no outstanding debts to Gazprom.

    Russia subsequently said the changes had nullified the agreement.

    Brussels delegation

    Russia has now sent a delegation to Brussels, the EU headquarters and Belgian capital, for talks concerning the resumption of supplies.

    Alexei Miller, Gazprom's chief executive, was part of the delegation, according to a company source.

    Also travelling to Brussels was Igor Sechin, the Russian deputy prime minister, and Sergei Shmatko, the energy minister, a source in Brussels said.

    "The deal needs to be re-signed anyway by all parties. Only then monitors will start arriving at gas compressor stations and gas will resume flowing," a Gazprom source said.

    Sechin and Miller were signatories to the original monitoring deal.

    However, gas will not begin to flow immediately after the deal. It will take at least 36 hours to reach normal levels.

    Many Europeans are already into their second week of freezing winter temperatures without heating due to the withdrawn stocks.

    Russia halted supplies on Wednesday saying that Ukraine had been siphoning off gas. The dispute has cost Gazprom - a monopoly gas export provider in Russia with partial state ownership - about $800 million.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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