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voanews.com

Russia Balks at Ukrainian Modifications to Gas Deal

By VOA News
11 January 2009

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says a written agreement to restart the flow of Russian natural gas through Ukraine to Europe will not be implemented until Ukraine withdraws last-minute changes to the deal.

Ukraine and Russia signed a deal Sunday, permitting European, Russian and Ukrainian experts to measure the flow of Russian gas through Ukrainian pipelines.

But Mr. Mevedev says attachments to the Ukrainian document contradict Russia's offer. The Kyiv government has not commented on the Russian accusations.

Earlier Sunday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said the deal would allow international observers to monitor all Ukrainian gas terminals and exporting stations.

Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine January 1, in a dispute over pricing and transit fees. Moscow later shut down the pipeline system, after accusing Ukraine of stealing gas meant for Western Europe.

Earlier Sunday, the state-run Russian utility Gazprom said it wanted to review a copy of the document signed by Ukraine, to ensure it is the same text that Russian and EU officials signed on Saturday.

For its part, Ukraine said it could take until Tuesday to rebuild adequate pipeline pressure for gas to reach the West.

Gazprom supplies one-quarter of all natural gas consumed by EU countries. Most of that gas is piped through Ukraine.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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