MOSCOW, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Russian gas company Gazprom said Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Yuri Boiko traveled to Moscow to discuss issues in the Ukrainian gas sector.
Boiko met in Moscow with Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller. In a brief statement, Gazprom said Wednesday "the parties discussed crucial issues of cooperation in the gas sector."
Ukrainian national energy company Naftogaz this week agreed with Gazprom to defer payment on its natural gas bills until early 2014. Gazprom this year pressured Naftogaz to pay off its outstanding debt, sparking fears of another gas dispute like the one that resulted in the severing of gas deliveries to Ukraine in 2009.
An unnamed source in Gazprom told the National News Agency of Ukraine the outstanding debt had exceeded $2 billion.
The meeting in Moscow comes as Ukrainian leaders try to contain the public outcry over a November decision to suspend efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the European Union. Ukrainian leaders said they suspended the effort in order to protect their economic ties with Russia.