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Russia sees regional energy talks in May

Russian Energy Ministers issues calls to EU, Ukrainian delegates

By Daniel J. Graeber
Russia sees regional energy talks in May
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom chief Alexei Miller could meet with EU, Ukrainian leaders to discuss regional gas concerns. (UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov) | License Photo

MOSCOW, April 28 (UPI) -- Members of the European Union will join Ukrainian and Russian delegates at the negotiating table for energy talks next month, a Russian official said Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned EU heads of state earlier this month the region's energy security was at risk because of Ukraine's mounting gas debts.

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Russia meets about a quarter of Europe's gas needs, though most of those supplies run through Soviet-era transit network in cash-strapped Ukraine.

"[The trilateral meeting] is planned for the beginning of May," a spokeswoman at the Russian Energy Ministry told RIA Novosti.

Russian energy company Gazprom in 2009 cut gas supplies to Ukraine in response to contractual disputes. The agreement that ended the impasse left Ukraine with some of the highest gas bills in the region.

Both Russia and the EU have agreed on ways to add diversity to an energy sector vulnerable to geopolitical issues in Ukraine. Russia says its South Stream pipeline is the answer to European energy woes, while the EU has looked to rival suppliers in the Caspian region.

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