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Trilateral gas talks to be preceded by consultations on January 15, says Naftogaz

The talks involving Russia, the European Union and Ukraine will take place on January 21 in Brussels

KIEV, January 10. /TASS/. Natural gas talks in the Russia - EU - Ukraine format will be held at an expert level on January 15, executive director of Naftogaz of Ukraine Yuri Vitrenko wrote in Facebook.

"The gas transit contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom will end this year. The trilateral (European Union, Ukraine, Russia) consultations at the expert level are scheduled on January 15; trilateral negotiations at the political level - on January 21," Vitrenko wrote.

Trilateral gas talks with participation of Russia, the European Union and Ukraine will take place on January 21 in Brussels, Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Maro· ·ef·ovi· said on Wednesday. The forthcoming meeting will be based on results of previous talks held by the parties at different levels, ·ef·ovi· noted.

The prospects of gas transit through Ukraine after the contract with Russia will be a top-priority issue at the Russia-Ukraine-EU ministerial gas talks, Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told TASS earlier. According to the Russian envoy, the significance of these negotiations is somewhat weakened by the fact that the presidential election is due to be held in Ukraine in early spring, while the pan-European elections in the EU will be held in May 2019, which will result in the change of the European Commission’s composition and the change of the leadership of all other European institutions.

In early December 2018, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stressed that the date of the expert meeting on gas between Russia, Ukraine and the EU would be agreed on in the near future, after which the date of the trilateral gas negotiations would be set. The previous trilateral talks were held in July.

It was planned that the next meeting would be held in October 2018, but it has been put off more than once since then. In mid-December, the European Commission suggested holding that meeting in the second half of January.

Contracts for the supply and transit of Russian gas through Ukraine will expire in late 2019. The issue of continuing the transit after 2019 has been discussed, in particular, in light of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will bypass the transit countries.