Russia, EU, Ukraine reach deal on gas - Tucson News Now

Russia, EU, Ukraine reach deal on gas

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Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan talks on Friday about gas supply negotiations with Russia. (Source: EbS/CNN) Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan talks on Friday about gas supply negotiations with Russia. (Source: EbS/CNN)
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BERLIN (EbS/CNN) - After a week of intense negotiation, the EU, Russia and Ukraine have reached a partial agreement to avoid a gas supply disaster.

EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan and Russian Energy Minister Alexandre Novak met in Berlin.

Ukrainian authorities agreed to pay $786 million to settle some debts for Russian gas imports.

The deal ensures Russia's state-owned Gazprom will keep delivering critical natural gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe.

Roughly 15 percent of Europe's gas demand is supplied by Russia via Ukrainian pipelines.

The gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev comes as violence flares in parts of eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian militants.

Ukraine and Russia were tied in a massive gas dispute. Russia accused Ukraine of owing billions in unpaid bills and threatened to cut off supplies starting in June. Europe was caught in the mess because roughly 15 percent of Europe's gas demand is supplied by Russia via Ukrainian pipelines.

Ukraine's $786 million payment covers two months of gas supplies, showing Russia the country was serious about settling its debts.

Russia's energy minister Novak said that once the payment arrives on Monday, talks will resume to settle the dispute over Ukraine's gas bills for an additional four months. They are also working to agree on the price of future gas deliveries.

The talks were held in an attempt to avoid a repeat of gas cuts caused by previous disputes between Russia and Ukraine in 2006 and 2009.

According to U.S. intelligence, 10,000 Russian troops are still standing at the border between the two countries. But in the last several days about 30,000 Russian troops moved back to their home bases.

Ukraine had been running out of money to pay its gas bills and was facing bankruptcy early this year. The key reason it is now able to repay its debts is through assistance from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Union and the U.S. government.

Copyright 2014 EbS via CNN. All rights reserved.

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