EU 'convinced' Russia, Ukraine gas deal still possible
The European Commission said Monday it was "convinced" a solution to a bitter Russia-Ukraine gas supply dispute was possible, after the latest round of EU-brokered talks finished without a deal in Kiev.
The Commission "is convinced that a solution is still possible and in the interest of all parties concerned (and) it will reflect on the next steps and on when to bring the parties together again," a statement said.
With the Kiev talks failing, Russia warned it would cut off the gas later Monday unless Ukraine pays up-front for deliveries, a move likely to intensify the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
A top official at Russian state-run giant Gazprom told AFP that the talks failed to bridge differences over price and how much in outstanding payments Kiev owed Moscow.
For its part, the Commission, the European Union's executive arm, said the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger had put forward a compromise package in the hope of getting agreement.
This package would first require Ukraine to pay $1.0 billion immediately on Monday, with the remainder of its unpaid bills settled by six additional payments.
All outstanding bills would be paid by year-end while future deliveries would be settled "on time" in line with the current Russia-Ukraine gas supply contract, it said.
The price would be put in a spread, between $385 per 1,000 cubic metres in the winter and $300, "or a few dollars more," in the summer.
Moscow had said it would not accept less than $385 while Kiev -- which originally wanted $268.50 -- has raised the amount it is willing to pay to $326.
The Commission said that while Ukraine was ready to accept this pricing formula, "for the moment the Russian partners were not."
"The Russian side insisted on immediate payment of $1.9 billion and an overall price of $385," it said.
© 2014 AFP