Russia, Ukraine agree gas delivery deal until end March: EU
Moscow and Kiev agreed a gas delivery deal until the end of March after EU-brokered talks in Brussels Monday, securing supplies to Europe after a row over supplies to rebel-held eastern Ukraine, the EU said.
"I am satisfied that we managed to safeguard the full application of the Winter Package for the supply needs in Ukraine," said Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, referring to a contract expiring on March 31 that Russia had threatened to scrap.
"We also agreed to take up trilateral negotiations on the follow-up to the Winter Package. I am reassured that the supply of gas to the EU markets remains secure," Sefcovic said in a statement.
The deal came at the end of nearly five hours of talks between Sefcovic, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn.
Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas giant, threatened last week to halt deliveries to Ukraine and divert stocks instead to the eastern parts of the country controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists after Kiev cut them off.
The row had threatened to disrupt gas supplies to the European Union, which receives about a third of its gas from Russia, with half that amount transiting via Ukraine pipelines.
The two sides agreed to leave gas supply to the rebel areas of Donetsk and Lugansk out of the negotiations for now and discuss it later, the EU statement said, adding that the issue was "highly complex in legal, technical and political terms."
© 2015 AFP