Moscow and Kiev are discussing a last-minute proposal to resolve their gas row. Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered Ukraine supplies at 2005 prices for the first three months of next year. But that is only if Kiev commits to paying more from the second quarter of 2006.
The Ukrainian government says it is willing to move towards market prices in principle but wants to hammer out details on the transition period with Moscow.
Russia’s state-controlled monopoly Gazprom has been threatening to cut off the flow to Ukraine on 1st January if it does not accept a fourfold cost increase. That has worried the European Union, which receives a quarter of its gas from Russia, and most of that transits through Ukraine.
Brussels has called a special meeting of energy officials for January 4.
To diversify its supplies to some degree, Kiev has signed a deal with Turkmenistan that covers more than half of its gas needs for next year.