Ukraine-Russia gas talks to resume

Moscow says officials will meet in Brussels on Monday to resolve a dispute over the price of natural gas.

    Russian natural gas transits through Ukraine supply about 15 percent of European needs [AP]
    Russian natural gas transits through Ukraine supply about 15 percent of European needs [AP]

    Russia, Ukraine and the European Union will restart talks on Russian natural gas supplies to try to resolve a disagreement over price.

    "The next (round) of trilateral negotiations will take place tomorrow [Monday] evening in Brussels," a spokeswoman for the energy ministry said on Sunday.

    Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, his Ukrainian counterpart Yuri Prodan and Guenther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Energy, will take part in the talks. Oettinger is acting as a mediator in the process.

    Representatives from Russia's state-owned Gazprom and Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz met last week in the German capital of Berlin to try and settle a dispute that could threaten gas flows to Europe.

    Ukraine and Russia differ on how much Naftogaz has to pay for the gas.

    Kiev disagrees with Moscow's decision to almost double gas prices to $485 per 1,000 cubic metres starting from April 1, after the then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich fled the country following a popular uprising

    Ukraine has to pay off debts to Gazprom by June 10 or faces being cut off.

    Speaking to reporters after talks with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko last week, President Vladimir Putin said Gazprom and Naftogaz were "close to reaching final agreements" on pricing.

    Gazprom has recently pushed back an ultimatum to Ukraine on imposing pre-payment for natural gas deliveries after the country paid $786m in arrears.

    Russian natural gas that transit through Ukraine supply about 15 per cent of Europe's needs. Oettinger has been urgently seeking a compromise to save 18 member states from seeing their deliveries start dwindling.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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