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Naftogaz again refuses to transit Russian gas to EU- Gazprom

RIA Novosti

15/01/2009 13:43 MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz has for a third time refused to transit Russian gas to European consumers, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said on Thursday.

Last night Gazprom sent Naftogaz another application for the transit of 99.2 million cubic meters of gas through the Sudzha entry point on Thursday. The volume included 13.9 million cu m of gas for Moldova, 63.1 million cu m for the Balkans and 22.2 million cu m for Slovakia.

"The response contained a refusal to transit gas over the absence of a technical gas transfer agreement for 2009," Gazprom said, urging Naftogaz to honor its gas transit commitments.

Some 18 EU countries have been affected by the stoppage of Russian gas supplies through Ukraine, which transits some 80% of Russia's exports to Europe. An EU-brokered deal to resume supplies on Tuesday also resulted in failure after Russia's attempts to pump gas through the Ukrainian network were unsuccessful.

The prime ministers of Russia, Moldova, Slovakia and Bulgaria held talks in Moscow to try and find a resolution to the gas dispute and Ukraine's refusal to transit Russian gas to Europe, which Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said had cost Gazprom $1.2 billion in lost revenue.

Robert Fico, the Slovakian premier, whose country has been severely affected by the gas dispute, told a press conference that he saw no quick end to the crisis which he described as a "deep political row."

The Russian and Ukrainian premiers will meet in Moscow on Saturday to discuss gas transit to Europe, the Russian premier's spokesman said on Thursday.

"A phone conversation between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko, took place today on Ukraine's initiative," Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. "The prime ministers agreed to hold a working meeting in Moscow on January 17 to discuss steps to take."

Russia insists its gas exit points have been opened for three days now with gas pressure along the export pipeline sufficient to allow for the immediate resumption of gas transits to Europe.

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