Russia ready should Kiev, EU renege on energy deals

EU outlined terms of interim gas deal in time for winter increase in demand.

By Daniel J. Graeber

MOSCOW, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Russia is ready to respond should its Ukrainian or European Union partners renege on trilateral energy agreements, a Kremlin spokesman said Monday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian government is operating under guidelines spelled out last week during trilateral talks in Berlin.


"Russia is guided by the agreements reached at the three-party talks, but at the same time is ready to defend its position," he said.

Negotiating partners last week outlined the terms of an interim agreement that sees Ukraine paying the $3.1 billion it owes Russian energy Gazprom. Ukraine, in return, gets a price discount and assurances of adequate winter natural gas supplies.

European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said that, with both sides sparring over contracts in international courts, an interim deal is necessary for short-term energy security.

Russia sends most of its gas for European consumers through the Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine. Contractual disputes in 2006 and 2009 between Kiev and Gazprom resulted in brief gas shortages in Europe, and ongoing crises in eastern Ukraine have exposed the European community to additional energy risks.


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