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Gas disruption fears cloud Ukraine-Russia talks

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Gas disruption fears cloud Ukraine-Russia talks

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EU leaders will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of talks today between Ukraine and Russia amid fears another gas dispute may affect supplies to Europe.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says the issue will not be discussed but last night she announced that Kiev plans to double the price it charges Moscow to transit gas via its territory. In response, Vladimir Putin’s office said the subject would examined “in-depth and at length.” The chairman of the State Duma’s energy committee, Yuri Lipatov, also issued a threat to Kiev: “Should it start siphoning off transit gas for its own needs, the valve will be shut down. Europe was left short for three weeks in January both sides quarrelled over prices and terms. A deal was reached but questions remain over Ukraine’s ability to pay because of the dire state of its economy.