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Kiev ready to deal on gas issues

Russia meets about a quarter of Europe's gas demand, though most of that volume runs through a Soviet-era pipeline network in Ukraine. the

By Daniel J. Graeber

KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Ukraine is ready to find a mutually acceptable solution to ensure the reliable transit of Russian natural gas, the country's prime minister said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met in Kiev with visiting Victoria Nuland, a U.S. State Department official in charge of regional affairs. Yatsenyuk's office said "special attention" was paid to challenges of European energy security.

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"The Ukrainian side is ready to a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of market pricing for gas and its transit," he said.

Ukraine under the terms of a proposal brokered with European and Russian officials agrees to settle its $3.1 billion in gas debt to Russian energy company Gazprom in exchange for assurances of reliable transit and a discount on gas prices.

The Kremlin was expected to announce a date for the next round of talks this week. Kiev had balked at earlier proposed deals from Russian, saying they were politically motivated.

Russia meets about a quarter of Europe's gas demand, though most of that volume runs through a Soviet-era pipeline network in Ukraine.

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European leaders are looking to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector. Gazprom, meanwhile, has focused its efforts on growing Asian economies.

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