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Topolanek: Gazprom to monitor gas transits

MOSCOW, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Saturday the Russian energy group Gazprom will begin monitoring gas transits through Ukraine.

Topolanek said the international monitoring efforts are part of an oral agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. RIA Novosti reported Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called for a written version of the deal to solidify it.

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"I hope you will manage to persuade our Ukrainian partners to sign the documents to create mechanisms of control," Putin said.

Under the agreement, experts from the Ukrainian energy group, Naftogaz, will serve as gas transit monitors in Russia.

The agreement is the result of demands by Russia for international monitoring of gas piped through Ukrainian territory. Russia had cut off all gas supplies to the European Union in an attempt to bring about such an agreement.

RIA Novosti said the gas cut-off came after Ukraine failed to reach a New Year's Eve deal with Russia regarding its gas payment debts or potential 2009 deliveries.

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