Ukraine has reached agreement with Russia over its gas supplies. The deal follows months of negotiations. Kiev will pay nearly 40 percent more for Russian natural gas from 1 January, but the price remains considerably lower than that paid by other countries. The news will go some way to ease European concerns about the reliability of Russian energy supplies.
Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom supplies around a quarter of Europe’s needs – 80 percent of that passes through Ukrainian pipelines. In January, a row between Moscow and Kiev over gas prices briefly disrupted supplies to Europe, sparking fears of dependency on Russian energy.
EU leaders have been pressing Moscow to ratify a charter that would open up Russia’s energy sector to European firms. Moscow refuses to sign the document as it stands. Discussions are due to start next month.