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EU energy commissioner’s visit to Moscow postponed till November — diplomat

October 19, 2016, 19:50 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

A diplomat says the visit is postponed due to the fact that the European Commission is not ready to advance a number of issues planned to be discussed in Moscow

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BRUSSELS, October 19. /TASS/. The visit of the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic to Moscow has been postponed till November, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told TASS on Wednesday. Earlier the visit was scheduled for October 14, according to the European Commission, though Moscow did not confirm the date.

"Now the visit is planned for November. The visit is being postponed due to the fact that our EC partners are not ready to advance a number of issues planned to be discussed in Moscow," he said.

Also, Chizhov said, the discussion on a new round of trilateral gas talks proposed by the European Commission is senseless amid the current environment.

"A package is something consisting of several elements by definition. ‘Winter’ packages - last year’s and the year’s before last - consisted of three elements each. First, the repayment of the unchallenged part of Naftogaz Ukrainy’s debt to Gazprom, second, the terms, volumes and rates of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine to be outlined, third, price setting," he said.

"As of today the unchallenged part of the debt has been repaid, for which Ukraine has been granted funds from international financial institutions. Starting last November, Ukraine has not been directly purchasing Russian gas. The reverse-flow gas supplies from Germany via Slovakia, via Poland are mainly the deliveries of Russian gas as well, though at a different price. That’s why the second and third elements of the ‘package’ fall away," Russia’s Representative to the EU said.

According to Chizhov, the European Commission "has fears, and not without reason, that the complicated and unreliable reverse supplies scheme will not work in case of a cold winter" and Kiev would start transit gas offtake as it happened in 2006 and 2009.

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