EU, Ukraine, Russia plan gas price talks

The European Union, Ukraine and Russia plan on holding gas price talks this month in an attempt to avoid a disruption of deliveries.

Energy commissioner for the EU Guenther Oettinger said after a meeting between the three sides that common ground is necessary in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, The Associated Press reports.

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Last month, Moscow upped the price of natural gas for Ukraine to $485 per thousand cubic meters from $268.50, and threatened to cut back deliveries if Kiev doesn't recognize the new price and pay up its debt of $3.5 billion.

Ukraine and Russia's energy ministers, Yuri Prodan and Alexander Novak, met with Oettinger on Friday.

Novak said Russia's state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, will demand prepayment for June deliveries, to be made by the end of May. If that doesn't happen, Gazprom will limit supplies to levels for other European countries that receive their gas through Ukraine, but not enough for Ukraine itself.

Ukraine's Prodan said Ukraine will take the price issue to a European arbitration court this month.

All sides agreed to hold a trilateral talk in mid-May and at the end of May to help stabilize the situation.