Moscow, Kiev, Brussels restart talks on Russian gas

Ukraine has to pay off its debts to Gazprom by tomorrow, or Russia has threatened to cut off gas supplies. AFP photo

Moscow, Kiev and Brussels will restart talks on Russian gas supplies today to try to resolve a dispute over price, a Russian energy ministry official said June 8.
“The next (round) of trilateral negotiations will take place tomorrow evening in Brussels,” a spokeswoman for the energy ministry said. Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak, his Ukrainian counterpart Yuri Prodan and the European Union’s energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger will take part in the talks.

Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine state energy company Naftogaz met for two days in Berlin last week to try to settle the dispute which 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, an increase which came after pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich fled following a popular uprising.

Ukraine has to pay off its debts to Gazprom by tomorrow or Russia has threatened to cut off gas supplies to its neighbor, a major gas transit route to the European Union. Speaking to reporters after talks with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko last week, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz were “close to reaching final agreements” on price. European Commissioner Oettinger has acted as mediator in the talks.

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