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    Russia, Ukraine Meet for Gas Talks


The meeting took place in Vienna, but there was no Third Man.

by: William Powell

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Russia, Ukraine Meet for Gas Talks

Gas talks between Russian and Ukrainian industry and government officials took place in Vienna November 28 and will continue on a bilateral basis in the coming days, the Russian monopoly Gazprom said November 28.

For the past few years, relations between the two have been strained and meetings relating to short term gas deliveries and transit have been held in Brussels, with senior European Commission executives present. This time it was only two countries' officials: Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, his Ukrainian counterpart Alexei Orzhel, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and the heads of  Naftogaz Ukrainy [Andriy Kobolev] and Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine.

The parties discussed Russian-Ukrainian co-operation in the gas sector, including the settling of mutual claims related to the execution of contracts, the terms of transiting Russian gas to Europe from 2020 onward, and the outlook for direct purchases of Russian gas for Ukrainian consumers.

Following an exchange of proposals regarding the issues facing the parties, an agreement was reached to intensify joint work on a bilateral basis in the coming days, Gazprom said. The urgency arises from the expiry of the bilateral gas transit and supply contract on New Year's Eve.

Gazprom wants all claims against it to be dropped; however it has also proposed delivering free gas in lieu of payment of the arbitration award. This is being considered by Ukraine, which is due upwards of $2.6bn.