Russia to price gas supplies to Ukraine at European levels

Russia will price its gas supplies to Ukraine in line with European levels at an average 280 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters in 2010, the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Wednesday.

“The average price for next year will be about 280 dollars, which is in line with European levels,” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said.

The spokesman said the recent cooperation between Russia and Ukraine went smoothly, with no abnormalities concerning payment issue.

He also excluded the existence of objective factors that might trigger another gas crisis on the eve of the new year.

Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz on Tuesday agreed that Russian gas supplies to Ukraine would be cut by 35 percent in 2010, from 52 billion cubic meters to 33.75 billion cubic meters.

After holding talks on Nov. 19, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko agreed to revise some articles in the gas contract they signed in January. One of the revised articles would prevent Naftogaz from being fined for taking less gas than required by the contract in 2009.

Russia supplies a quarter of EU’s gas needs, with 80 percent of it pumped through Ukrainian pipelines. The energy supplier cut off gas deliveries to Ukraine for nearly two weeks in January, leaving tens of thousands of Europeans without heating gas in the depths of winter.

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