European Commission invites Russia, Ukraine to gas talks in Brussels

European Commission invites Russia, Ukraine to gas talks in Brussels
# 26 February 2015 18:56 (UTC +04:00)
The European Commission vice-president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic, has sent letters to both the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers, inviting them to the Belgian capital city of Brussels for the talks on February March 2, said EU Commission spokeswoman, Anna-Kaisa Itkonen.
The talks are aimed to “hear both sides’ views, to try to mediate,” and get back on track a previous deal brokered by the European Union late last year, Itkonen added.
Meanwhile, Moscow and Kiev are expected to continue to respect the winter package deal, which guaranteed Russian gas supplies to Ukraine through March,
Itkonen added.
The Kiev government recently said it will switch off gas supplies to the war-ravaged eastern parts of Ukraine, which is controlled by pro-Russia forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reprimanded the Ukrainian authorities for the decision, saying the move would clearly ‘smack of genocide.’
Meanwhile, Russia has started its own delivery of gas to the eastern regions of Ukraine after authorities in the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk asked Moscow last week to provide them with access to the vital energy source in the current freezing temperatures.
Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has also threatened to halt its natural gas flow to Ukraine if Kiev fails to pay for deliveries. The move would threaten gas deliveries to the European Union, which relies on Ukraine’s pipelines to deliver about a third of its gas from Russia.
In 2006 and 2009, Gazprom stopped delivery of gas to Europe, causing huge disruption to gas supplies at the height of winter.