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Ukraine And Russia Set To Strike New Winter Gas Deal On Friday

BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - Ukraine and Russia will seek to strike a deal on gas supplies to Kiev ...

Alliance News 24 September, 2015 | 4:31PM
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BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - Ukraine and Russia will seek to strike a deal on gas supplies to Kiev for the upcoming winter at a new round of talks in Brussels on Friday, the European Commission announced.

Cash-strapped Ukraine has been heavily dependent on energy from Russia and is also a key transit country for supplies to Western Europe. The EU has brokered negotiations between the two sides amid strains over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Demchyshyn will meet at 5 pm (1500 GMT) on Friday, "with the firm objective to finalize the so-called winter package for the winter period 2015/16," the commission said in a statement.

The meeting, convened by commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, will also include representatives of Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukrainian supplier Naftogaz.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller announced in Vienna last week that an agreement had been reached in principle, under which Kiev would resume its purchases of Russian gas on October 1, while paying upfront for deliveries.

Russia cut off its gas shipments to Ukraine in July, after the two sides failed to reach a new energy deal. Moscow and Kiev have clashed in the past over energy prices and unpaid gas bills.

Ukraine needs to fill its storage reservoirs with 19 billion cubic metres of gas in order comfortably to get through until the end of March, when the worst of the winter is over, according to the commission.

Negotiations on the upcoming winter package have focused on gas prices and volumes, financing and delivery conditions, an EU source said on condition of anonymity.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine have plummeted to an all-time low since Ukraine ousted its pro-Russian president last year. Russia later annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and backed the cause of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's two eastern-most regions.

Copyright dpa

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