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EU eyes 'interim' deal in Ukraine, Russia gas talks

brussels bureau

EU eyes 'interim' deal in Ukraine, Russia gas talks


EU, Russian and Ukrainian officials are meeting in Brussels with the view to striking a gas deal for Ukraine.

Moscow and Kiev have been locked in a bitter row over unpaid bills since June.

Brussels wants the taps to stay open and avoid disrupting supplies as winter approaches.

“Our common ambition is to come to an interim solution, to come to a winter package, to solve our security of supply challenges for next winter… from now up to end of march 2015,” said Günther Oettinger, the EU Energy Commissioner.

Russia shut off supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and 2009 over disputed gas debts.

Now the country is bracing itself for another energy war.

Some schools in Kiev say term times will be cut short if they cannot heat their premises.

Russia provides one third of Europe’s gas, of which one half is shipped via Ukraine.

The stakes are also high for Russia; its economy is already feeling the strain of Western sanctions.

The gas sector amounts to nearly a fifth of the country’s GDP.

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