Trilateral gas talks to start in Brussels

Thu, 30.10.2014 12:39

KYIV/Ukraine in Arabic/ The long-awaited outcome of gas talks in the Russia-Ukraine-EU format is likely to be announced today’s morning, as the talks in Brussels will continue late into the night, the European Commission said Wednesday.

"The press conference, slated for today, has been postponed. Negotiations are still underway, and will most likely continue until late in the evening," EC said in a statement.

The gas talks in Brussels have been proceeding for more than six hours. Earlier, a representative of Russian energy ministry said that the talks had started with bilateral consultations between European energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger and Ukraine’s Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan followed by Oettinger’s meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak. After that, a trilateral meeting started.

“The talks are still underway and will not end soon,” a source in the Russian delegation said earlier.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told that the sticking point in the talks was Kyiv's inability to provide a written guarantee for its next gas payments.

"We were told that Ukraine is looking for the means to pre-pay a gas supply of 4 billion cubic meters. Once there is money, there will be gas," Novak said.

In addition, Sergei Kuprianov, spokesman for Russian gas giant Gazprom, called on the European Commission to reach a financing agreement with Ukraine.

"Otherwise, negotiations make no sense," he told

Moscow cut off vital gas supplies in June as the conflict with Ukraine and Western countries deepened. The supply cut has had little impact this summer, but pressure is mounting for a deal as temperatures start to drop below freezing.

Insecure funding

Moscow demands that the new pro-Western government in Kyiv pay sharply higher prices in advance for new deliveries after it ran up an unpaid bill of $5.3 billion (4.1 billion euros).

Ukraine's Naftogaz company is said to have set aside $3.1 billion in a special escrow account to pay off a chunk of its debt. Moreover, Kyiv said it was working to raise funding from all possible sources, including the European Union, which is currently considering a request for a loan of 2 billion euros.

Ukraine relies on Russia for around 50 percent of its own gas and despite storage has a winter shortfall of around 3 billion to 4 billion cubic meters, depending on the weather.


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