War-torn Ukraine on Saturday distanced itself from an EU-brokered agreement with Russia that would have restored its gas supplies during winter and helped rebuild trust between the neighbouring foes.
The European Union s energy commissioner emerged from hours of acrimonious negotiations in Berlin on Friday to pronounce the three-month dispute on the verge of being resolved.
“We have developed a workable design for a winter package,” Guenther Oettinger said.
Both he and Russia s energy minister added that a final agreement could be signed after consultations in Moscow and Kiev next week.
A compromise would not only save the Westward leaning nation from adopting drastic energy savings measures in freezing weather but also make sure that Russian gas flowed uninterrupted to European homes.
The volume roughly covers the amount of gas Ukraine says it needs to make it safely through the winter.
That translates into a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic metres — 20 percent less than the figure Russia began charging Ukraine in the wake of the February ouster in Kiev of an unpopular Kremlin-backed president.
But Russia said the $3.1 billion would be used to cover a $5.3-billion debt Ukraine had incurred since last year due to both its financial problems and refusal to pay the higher rate.
It added that the $385 figure was only a temporary discount due to expire in the spring.
“The chances of us reaching a final agreement along these lines are high,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Vesti 24 state news channel.
The apparent failure to achieve meaningful progress came as Moscow-Kiev relations remain dependent on the survival of a tenuous peace pact that has been unveiled in stages since early September but whose terms remain unfulfilled.
Russian and Ukrainian defence officials did take a cautious step on Friday toward establishing a 30-kilometre (19-mile) buffer zone along the front line that made sure the five-month war did not resume.
The Ukrainian defence ministry said both guerrillas and government forces would begin “a gradual withdrawal of forces” if no truce violations were recorded in the two days.
The military spokesman said one Ukrainian soldier and a civilian had been killed since Friday morning.
http://en.shafaqna.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/new-logo-s-2.png00adminhttp://en.shafaqna.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/new-logo-s-2.pngadmin2014-09-28 05:02:062014-09-28 05:02:06Ukraine backs off from EU-backed Russia gas deal