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EC receives consent from Ukraine to have gas talks on October 21 in Berlin

October 10, 2014, 14:02 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
Ukraine has confirmed the date suggested by the commissioner, Russia has yet to reply, says a spokesman for the European Commission
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© ITAR-TASS/Aleksei Pavlishak

BRUSSELS, October 10. /TASS/. The European Commission (EC) received from Ukraine consent to have next trilateral talks on gas in Berlin on October 21, a spokesman for the EC told TASS on Friday.

“Ukraine has confirmed the date suggested by the commissioner (Guenther Oettinger),” the source said. “Russia has not replied yet.”

On Thursday, the EC, the European Union’s executive body, suggested holding three-party gas talks involving the EU, Russia and Ukraine on October 21, a spokesman for the EC told TASS.

EC Vice President Guenther Oettinger on Thursday proposed to his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts holding the next tripartite meeting on October 21 in Berlin, the spokesman said.

The date and venue are to be agreed by all three parties, he said.

On October 7, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the date of the meeting will become clear within the following two days. He said his ministry sent its proposals on the meeting to the European Commission on October 3.

The European commissioner should consider the Russian side’s proposals and after that the date for a new round of talks will be set. “The Russian side is ready to hold the tripartite meeting at any moment,” Novak said.

“We have also thought that it will take 1-2 days [to determine the date of the meeting] but two days have passed,” Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told journalists Thursday.

Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country’s readiness to supply gas to Ukraine at $385 per 1,000 is “our historical position, a very favourable one for Ukraine”. He praised the trilateral talks and urged their continuation.

Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yury Prodan said Thursday Ukraine has agreed to the date of three-party gas talks set for October 21.

“When I am asked about the date, I am ready to (meet) even now, because this is a very important issue. So October 21 is okay for us,” Prodan said.

He did not rule out a meeting in Kiev with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger prior to the tripartite meeting.

A regular round of the Russia-EU-Ukraine gas consultations was held September 26. Its key goal was to resume the talks after a nearly three-month pause.

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute

Russia stopped gas flows to Ukraine in June over an unsettled dispute over debt and gas prices.

As of August 1, the overall debt of Naftogaz to Gazprom for supplied gas totaled about $5.3 billion.

Russia raised the gas price for Ukraine from $268.5 to $485.5 per 1,000 cu m from April 2014. Ukraine has said it will not pay for Russian natural gas supplies at such a high price.

Infographics Ukraine’s debt burden Ukraine’s debt burden
August 29, IMF Board of Directors discusses the second tranche for Ukraine amounting to $1.4 billion, which was postponed due to instability in south-eastern Ukraine. The country received the first tranche in April 2014. Earlier, April 30, the IMF approved a two-year credit totaling $17 billion for the support of the economic program. Infographics by ITAR-TASS

After Russia and Ukraine failed to reach a compromise on the gas issue, Naftogaz and Gazprom filed mutual claims to the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal.

The average price of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe currently stands at $380-390.

Gazprom offered Ukraine a $100 price discount in August. Kiev rejected the offer, insisting on fixing gas prices without any discounts.

The EU believes it is possible to set the price of Russian natural gas for Ukraine at $385 in winter and $325 in summer.

Gazprom on June 16 switched Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz to prepayment for gas supplies because Kiev failed to pay part of its gas debt by the deadline of 10:00 Moscow Time on June 16.

Gas supplies to Ukraine for its own needs were halted, but transit volumes were reportedly passing via Ukraine to Europe in line with the schedule.

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