Russia, Ukraine reach interim deal on gas dispute

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

European Union (EU) Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Friday that Russia and Ukraine had agreed in principle on an interim deal over gas supplies and would meet next week to decide on final details.

The EU, Ukraine and Russia held a trilateral mainisterial meeting on energy security in Berlin on Friday.

The three sides were represented by Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan respectively. Representatives of Russian and Ukrainian gas companies also attended the meeting.

Speaking at a press conference after the talks, Oettinger said the three sides had hold intensive talks Friday and negotiated a plan to secure gas supplies in Europe for the coming winter.

According to the “winter package” mediated by the EU, Kiev would pay 2 billion U.S. dollars to Russia by the end of October and a further 1.1 billion dollars by the end of this year to pay off gas debts.

In return, Russia would deliver at least 5 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine after it has received the first 2 billion dollars. The price discussed for the gas deliveries was 385 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters.

Novak told the press conference that the three sides had made a plan as a basis to solve the gas dispute and to secure gas supplies to Ukraine and EU member states for the next six months.

Prodan said he believed Ukraine and Russia could settle questions and differences remained on issues concerning gas price and payment of the old debts.

The interim agreement has to be approved by the governments in Moscow and Kiev, and further trilateral talks were planned next week to decide on final details of the deal, said Oettinger, adding that the chances were high that all parties will endorse the agreement.

Ukraine and Russia have been embroiled in a standoff on gas pricing for a few months. In June, Russia cut all gas supplies to Ukraine as the two sides failed to reach an agreement on payments.

The EU is heavily dependent on Russia, from whom it imports a third of its oil needs, 39 percent of gas and 26 percent of solid fuels, according to official EU statistics.

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