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Ukrainian president 'urges Russia to resume transit'

RIA Novosti

15/01/2009 19:25 KIEV, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's president urged his Russian counterpart on Thursday to ensure gas transit to Europe by pumping 330 million cubic meters of gas into the Ukrainian transit system, his press service said.

Russian energy giant Gazprom complained earlier in the day that it had received a third refusal from its Ukrainian partner Naftogaz to transit Russian gas on to Europe over the lack of a technical gas transfer agreement for 2009.

"Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko held a telephone conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The head of the Ukrainian state repeatedly urged his Russian counterpart to ensure Russian natural gas deliveries to European consumers by pumping 330 million cubic meters of gas into the Ukrainian gas transit system," Yushchenko's press service said.

Yushchenko pledged to guarantee Russian gas transit via Ukraine upon receipt of the required volume.

"In turn, Ukraine guarantees the transit of all gas volumes under contracts with Russia and European consumers," the Ukrainian president was quoted as saying.

Earlier in the day, Medvedev invited Yushchenko to attend a gas summit to be held in Moscow on Saturday.

"The Russian president has invited Ukraine's president to attend a Moscow international conference for heads of state and government to discuss the delivery of Russian gas to consumers in Europe," the Kremlin press service said.

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Czech Energy Minister Martin Riman, whose country holds the EU presidency, could take part in the summit, an EU spokesman said. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has also been invited.

Medvedev also offered on Thursday to transfer "technical gas" to Ukraine on behalf of a consortium of European countries to start gas transit to Europe.

During a telephone conversation with Yushchenko, Medvedev put forward the proposal as a way of ensuring the normal functioning of the Ukrainian gas transportation system.

Gazprom said it wanted to pump 99.2 million cu m of gas to Ukraine on Thursday, including 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. 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.