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EU energy chief wants deal on Ukraine gas supply

Staff writer |
Vice President of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, said he aimed to prolong an October 2014 trilateral gas deal between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union before the summer.

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The EU’s energy union chief Sefcovic, who has been chairing the trilateral talks, said at an energy security conference in Brussels on Tuesday: "I hope to have the chance to conclude by the summer."

"I am confident that we will achieve further progress," Sefcovic said, referring to the gas talks brokered by the European Commission between Russia and Ukraine.

The European Commission invited Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers to Brussels for talks in February after Russia's Gazprom threatened to cut off its gas supply to Ukraine within two days over what it said were Kiev's failure to send funds as previously agreed in a "winter package" deal.

Kiev and Moscow sealed a deal in October 2014, which guaranteed the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine during the winter, even as the two countries were at odds over eastern Ukraine.

"The package addresses Ukraine's purchase of Russian gas but it is also of major importance in ensuring stable, sufficient and uninterrupted transit of gas to the EU," Sefcovic said on Tuesday.

Disputes over gas prices between Moscow and Kiev in 2006 and 2009 prompted Gazprom to cut supplies, causing gas shortages in Europe during freezing temperatures.

"I remain convinced that Ukraine will and should continue to play an important role in ensuring Europe's energy security as a transit country," said Sefcovic.

The EU is the biggest energy importer in the world, spending over 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) a day, according to the European Commission.

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