posted at 02:50
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EU, Ukraine must agree gas debt deal for talks to restart: Gazprom
"The European Commission must reach an agreement with Ukraine over the question of financing. Otherwise, negotiations make no sense," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov told AFP. EU-brokered talks overnight in Brussels to solve the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which threatens to hit parts of Europe this winter, broke up without agreement. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak had said earlier that negotiations "Were not yet finished" and could resume Thursday evening after each side has had time to prepare the documents needed to sign, state news agency Ria Novosti reported. Moscow is demanding that the new pro-Western government in Kiev pay sharply higher prices in advance for new deliveries after it ran up what Moscow said was an unpaid bill of $5.3 billion. Gazprom head Alexei Miller clarified that the EU first needed to strike a deal with Ukraine to cover the gas debts before a final delivery agreement could be struck. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously called on Europe to help Ukraine pay its debt to Moscow through a bridging loan or bank guarantees.

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