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Ukraine urges Gazprom to sign interim gas transit agreement

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Ukraine's Foreign Ministry urged on Thursday Russian energy giant Gazprom to sign a temporary agreement on the transit of gas to Europe.
KIEV, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's Foreign Ministry urged on Thursday Russian energy giant Gazprom to sign a temporary agreement on the transit of gas to Europe.

Ukraine and Russia have been embroiled in a bitter gas dispute over gas prices and a new contract on natural gas supplies, which resulted in the suspension of deliveries to Ukraine on January 1. A week later, Gazprom cut off supplies to Europe, saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.

Following mediation by the EU, the two sides agreed to resume supplies. However, a test delivery was unsuccessful on Tuesday and Russian gas via Ukraine has so far failed to reach the EU, leading Moscow to accuse Kiev of blocking the gas deliveries.

A draft temporary technical agreement sent by Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz to Gazprom outlines relations between the parties until February 1.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Gazprom had been inundating the European Union with complaints instead of looking for a compromise.

The statement also said that, "The sole compromise solution, and Ukraine and the EU are aware of this, is to immediately sign a temporary technical agreement for the transit of Russian gas to the European Union."

Meanwhile, Gazprom said earlier on Thursday that it had received a third refusal from its Ukrainian partner Naftogaz to transit Russian gas on to Europe over the lack of a "technical" gas transfer agreement for 2009.

Russia insists its gas exit points have been open for three days now with gas pressure along the export pipeline sufficient to allow for the immediate resumption of gas transits to Europe.

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