Russia-Ukraine gas talks to resume Sunday after no progress

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger speaks to the media prior to a round of talks with Russian Gazprom company and Ukraine's energy minister, in Kiev on June 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger speaks to the media prior to a round of talks with Russian Gazprom company and Ukraine's energy minister, in Kiev on June 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine and Russia failed to reach agreement on Saturday in talks aimed at averting a halt in Russian gas supplies, but the two sides will meet again Sunday, Kiev’s energy minister said.

“No solution was found, and the negotiations will continue Sunday morning,” Mr Yuriy Prodan told journalists after about two hours of EU-brokered talks in the Ukrainian capital.

The decision to resume negotiations Sunday was made at the suggestion of EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who also attended the talks, according to Prodan.

Mr Oettinger told journalists that Sunday’s talks would begin by 9:30 am (0630 GMT).

If the talks fail, Ukraine risks being cut off from economically vital Russian gas shipments as early as Monday because of a bitter price dispute.

Ukraine receives half its gas supplies from Russia and transports 15 percent of the fuel consumed in Europe. Moscow had nearly doubled the price it charges Kiev in the wake of the February ouster of a Kremlin-backed president.

Ukraine said heading into Saturday’s urgent round of talks in Kiev that it was ready to make a US$1.95 billion (S$2.44 billion) payment demanded by Moscow by Monday morning if Russia agreed to cut its ongoing price to US$326 from US$485.50 for 1,000 cubic metres of gas.

But Russia had called a price of US$385 per 1,000 cubic metres its final offer.