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A worker prepares sections of pipe before they are welded together and buried underground as part of the OPAL pipeline near Lubmin, Germany. The pipeline is part of the Nord Stream project, which delivers Russian natural gas directly to western Europe, bypassing Ukraine.

EU To Hold Another Round of Ukraine, Russia Gas Talks

June 2, 2014
The European Commission says it will hold further talks with Ukraine and Russia on resolving their gas supply dispute after outlining a possible price regime to secure supplies to June 2015.

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission said Monday it will hold further talks with Ukraine and Russia on resolving their gas supply dispute after outlining a possible price regime to secure supplies to June 2015.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said talks in Brussels produced a "possible payment plan [for unpaid bills] and also suggested ways prompt payment in future could be assured."

The heads of Ukraine gas company Naftogaz and Russia's giant Gazprom (IW 1000/16) met separately to discuss possible terms that could cover payments "up to at least June next year," Oettinger told a press conference.

The two had in turn asked for "a number of days" to discuss the details with their respective governments and officials, after which they would return for another trilateral meeting "this week or next," he said.

Kiev had threatened to take Russia to international arbitration if the gas had been cut off, and on Monday Oettinger said the talks agreed that this option would also not be taken up until both companies reported back.

Russian gas transiting through Ukraine covers about 15% of European needs, meaning any cut to supplies, as happened in 2006 and 2009, has a knock-on effect on the EU, several of whose member states are totally reliant on Russia for their energy.

The talks in Brussels took place just as there was an upsurge in violence in eastern Ukraine, where hundreds of pro-Russian gunmen struck a border guard camp in one of the biggest attacks of an insurgency that Washington says is directed by Moscow.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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