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Ukraine, Russia start process of signing gas transit agreements in Vienna

The new round of the talks between two delegations started on December 26

KIEV, December 29. /TASS/. Ukrainian and Russian representatives started a process of signing gas transit agreements in Vienna, Ukraine’s Justice Minister Denis Malyuska announced on Sunday, posting a photo of the document-signing ceremony on his Facebook page.

"The process of signing is not yet finished," he said, commenting on the event. Head of the Ukrainian Gas Transport System Operator Sergei Makogon also posted a photo on his Facebook page, saying "the process has started.".

Head of Ukraine's Naftogaz oil and gas company Andrei Kobolev earlier said that the Russian and Ukrainian sides had so far been unable to agree on the texts of gas transit agreements.

He said, however, that "certain progress has been made."

According to the Naftogaz chief, three documents are being discussed. One of them is a deal between Ukraine’s new gas transit system operator, the Gas Transportation System Operator of Ukraine, and Gazprom, which sets out technical procedures and rules of interaction between the operators.

Besides, the negotiators are working on an agreement to organize transit between Naftogaz and Gazprom, and on a settlement agreement, in which both companies waive their claims regarding the 2009 contracts.

The new round of the talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Vienna started on December 26.

On December 20, Moscow and Kiev announced that a new gas transit contract had been agreed for the term of five years and that mutual claims between Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine had been settled. The parties also agreed to waive new and withdraw existing mutual claims. Gazprom will also pay around $2.9 bln to Naftogaz by the year-end under the decision made by the Stockholm Arbitration. Moreover, an amicable settlement was agreed on antitrust proceedings against Gazprom in Ukraine. On Friday, Gazprom reported that the amount had been paid to Naftogaz.

On Saturday the Ukrainian government approved the signing of the amicable agreement with Gazprom. The document settles the claims of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine against Russia's Gazprom amounting to around $7 bln. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week that the sides would sign an amicable agreement on December 29, after which all claims would be withdrawn and attachments of Gazprom’s property in Europe would be lifted.