13:33 GMT +319 January 2020
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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has praised the signing of a long-awaited Russian-Ukrainian pact on gas transit to Europe as a sign of the European Union’s energy security.

    "I am glad that one and a half years of talks on Russian gas transit through Ukraine could be successfully concluded. Continued gas transit … is a good and important signal that our European gas supply will be guaranteed", Merkel said in a statement.

    She thanked Russian and Ukrainian negotiators, EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier and the recent addition to the mediators' team, Georg Graf Waldersee.

    Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz finalised the deal late on 30 December. It guarantees Russian natural gas transit through Ukraine for five years starting 1 January.

    Germany relies on Russia for much of its natural gas imports. Despite a slip in gas exports starting in 2014, Russia remained the EU’s biggest supplier in the first half of the outgoing year. It is about to complete a new undersea pipeline to Europe despite US sanctions on contractors.

    Angela Merkel, security, Energy, gas, Ukraine, Russia
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