Russia and Ukraine are expected to sign an agreement later to guarantee gas supplies for Europe. Ukraine’s leaders have been trying to thrash out a deal under which Moscow would increase supplies to fill Ukraine’s gas resevoirs before winter. Kiev has already agreed to almost double what it pays for its neighbour’s gas after a bitter price dispute which saw Russia cut off supplies for three days in January.
Several EU countries were affected because most of the Russian fuel on which Europe depends is shipped through pipelines that cross Ukraine. Russia’s gas export monopoly, Gazprom, supplies about a quarter of Europe’s gas needs and up to 80 percent of those volumes pass through Ukraine.
It wants Ukraine to pay more than 200 dollars per thousand cubic metres of gas in a long-term deal, rather than the 95 dollars it currently pays.