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BRUSSELS, March 19. /TASS/. The issue of gas supplies to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions known as Donbas should be resolved as part of the Minsk peaceful process, a spokesperson for the European Commission said on Thursday.
The spokesperson’s statement came ahead of a ministerial gas meeting between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union scheduled for March 20 in Brussels.
"The issue of [gas] supplies to Donetsk should be discussed as part of the Minsk peaceful process. The European Commission upholds the principle that this problem should be separated from the discussion of the summer [gas] package. However, we cannot rule out that this issue may be raised by the Russian or Ukrainian aside," the spokesperson said.
Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine and gas transit to European countries from April 1 will top the agenda of a meeting between Moscow and Kiev with the EU’s mediation on March 20 in Brussels, a European source said on Tuesday.
Russia confirmed on Tuesday that it would participate in three-party gas talks in Brussels on March 20. The talks are expected to be attended by Russian and Ukrainian Energy Ministers Alexander Novak and Volodymyr Demchishin and European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic.
The European Commission also expects Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller and Naftogaz Head Andrey Kobolev to arrive at the talks.
"We expect the sides to discuss the price and technical aspects of the deliveries of gas to Ukraine and its transit to EU countries after the completion of the winter package accords that will cease to operate on March 31," the European source said.