06:13 GMT +320 October 2017

    EU voices concern over Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute

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    LONDON, January 2 (RIA Novosti, Alexander Smotrov) - Amid the unsettled dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the price for Russian natural gas deliveries to Ukraine the European Union voices concern that supplies of Russian gas to European countries via Ukraine could be hit.

    EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said Sunday the dispute could result in new unexpected developments that would possibly affect gas supplies from Russia to Western Europe, since about 25% of its gas imports goes via Ukraine. He said the EU would discuss the situation in Brussels January 4.

    Hungarian gas wholesaler MOL reported its Russian deliveries via Ukraine had dropped by more than 25%, with Poland's PGNiG also saying gas supplies were down since Russian energy giant Gazprom began reducing pressure in the natural gas pipeline to Ukraine on Sunday.

    In the final days of 2005, Russia made several proposals to Ukraine as it said in a bid to cushion the move to the market price, which Ukraine insists is "economically ungrounded" and politically motivated.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian government, Saturday, to continue deliveries to Ukraine in Q1, 2006 under the 2005 terms if Ukraine signed December 31, 2005 a new contract, stipulating new market prices for Russian gas starting from Q2, 2006.

    Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said: "Ukraine rejected the option, which shows that the Ukrainian authorities planned a conflict from the very beginning, i.e. to tap, or rather steal, gas intended for European consumers," adding that Gazprom was continuing to work on the problem.

    Russia also offered Ukraine a $3.6 billion loan to finance its gas imports in 2006, but Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko turned down the offer, having said, "Ukraine will pay for itself."

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