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10 Jun, 2014 01:16

Russia, Ukraine, EU gas talks fail to reach deal

Russia, Ukraine, EU gas talks fail to reach deal

Russia, Ukraine and the EU have failed to reach an agreement during gas talks in Brussels. Negotiations will continue on Tuesday or Wednesday, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said after the fifth round of the three-party talks.

Oettinger specified that there are some remaining open issues and different positions between the parties.

He indicated that talks will continue tomorrow as Ukrainian and Russian delegates talk with their governments and decide if they want to continue the negotiations.

"The talks will continue either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning," Commission spokeswoman Sabine Berger told Reuters.

Russia, Ukraine and the EU for the first time discussed the price for the supplied Russian gas to Ukraine, including payments for June-August, Russia's Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said after the three-party gas talks ended.

Russia has proposed "a very constructive plan, which we believe all stakeholders could and should accept,” Novak said, including the repayment schedules for the remaining debt Ukraine owes Gazprom.

$1.454 billion of Ukraine’s undisputed debt to Gazprom remains unpaid. This is the debt for Russian gas delivered to Ukraine in November and December of 2013.

The parties discussed repayments for the past November-December supplies, Novak said, adding that the need to pay back $1.451 billion by June 10 remains unchanged, as well as the partial repayment of $500 million debt accumulated for April and May.

Earlier on Monday, Ukraine’s energy and coal industry minister Yury Prodan said Kiev will pay the debt for Russian gas after the new gas price is confirmed.

Gazprom says Ukraine owes it $4.46 billion in unpaid bills and is running up more debt at a rate of more than $1 billion per month. Meanwhile, Kiev says its debt for 2013 and 2014 as of April 1 stood at $2.2 billion. It paid $786 million last week which covered the gas supplied in the first quarter of this year.

Ukraine receives about half of its natural gas from the Russian energy giant, and about 16 percent of Europe’s annual demand passes through Ukrainian pipelines.

A compromise agreement reached in May was broken by Kiev after it failed to repay $2 billion to Gazprom. The second part of that deal included another $500 million to be paid no later than June 7.

On Monday, Aleksey Miller said that Gazprom will wait another seven days for the debt to be paid in full before it switches Kiev to a prepayment system for natural gas.