Little Progress in Moscow-Kiev Gas Talks

Little Progress in Moscow-Kiev Gas TalksLittle Progress in Moscow-Kiev Gas Talks

Russia and Ukraine made little headway in natural gas talks brokered by the European Union, the first trilateral meeting since a pricing dispute between the two former Soviet states prompted the government in Kiev to halt purchases last year.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Ihor Nasalyk met in Brussels on Friday to discuss stable supplies and transit of the fuel in talks hosted by Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president for energy union. In the past two years, the commission has helped avert disruptions in the supply of Russian gas to Europe via pipelines crossing Ukraine, Bloomberg reported.

“There was a full commitment to work closely together in order to ensure gas flows from Russia to Ukraine and gas transit to the EU,” the three negotiators said in a joint statement after the talks. “In this respect, it was agreed that the discussions will continue at all levels.”

Gas-price and debt disputes between Russia and Ukraine disrupted deliveries to Europe during freezing weather in 2006 and 2009. Ukraine carries about 40% of Russia’s EU-bound gas across its territory, or more than 10% of Europe’s demand for the fuel, making it a linchpin in the continent’s energy security.

While no deal was signed after the negotiations, Novak said there was no pricing disagreement between Russia and Ukraine and that Moscow-based gas exporter Gazprom is ready to supply its Kiev-based counterpart Naftogaz under the current deal. 

“Naftogaz and Gazprom will continue consultations on gas supplies and we confirm that Russia is ready to ensure stable supplies to Ukraine and to the European consumers within existing contracts,” Novak told reporters after the talks ended.

Ukraine has coped without purchasing from Gazprom for a year, the longest it has gone without supplies via Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. 


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