Ukraine, Moscow clinch deal on Russian gas supply

Associated Press . Brussels / New Age Online
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger (R) leave a joint news conference after gas talks between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels October 30, 2014. – Reuter photo

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger (R) leave a joint news conference after gas talks between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels October 30, 2014. – Reuter photo

Moscow and Kiev on Thursday clinched a multi-billion dollar deal that will guarantee that Russian gas exports flow into Ukraine and beyond to the European Union throughout the winter despite their intense rivalry over the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, whose offices mediated the talks for months, said the EU will also help cash-strapped Ukraine with the payments through aid and guarantees.
‘There is now no reason for people in Europe to stay cold this winter,’ he said. Barroso added that he was ‘hopeful that the agreement can contribute to increase trust between Russia and Ukraine.’
EU energy chief Guenther Oettinger said that ‘we can guarantee a security of supply over the winter’ not only for Ukraine but also for the EU nations closest to the region that stood to suffer should the gas standoff have worsened.
A similar standoff in 2009 had caused serious disruptions in gas flowing from Russia into the EU and it was a prospect the bloc sought to avoid.
The agreement long hinged on the question whether Ukraine was in a position to come up with the necessary cash to pay for the gas. ‘Yes, they are,’ a confident Oettinger said. Oettinger said the $4.6 billion deal should extend through March.

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