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Ukraine, Russia reach accord on gas exports

Associated Press

BRUSSELS – Moscow and Kiev on Thursday clinched a deal that will guarantee that Russian gas exports flow into Ukraine throughout the winter despite their intense rivalry over the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

In a signing ceremony following protracted negotiations, the two sides promised to get the gas flowing into Ukraine again after a long and bitter dispute over payments.

European Union energy chief Guenther Oettinger said “we can guarantee a security of supply over the winter,” not only for Ukraine but also for the EU nations closest to the region that stood to suffer should the conflict worsen.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced the “very important agreement” between the two sides.

“There is now no reason for people in Europe to stay cold this winter,” he said.

The agreement long hinged on the question whether Ukraine was in a position to come up with the necessary cash to pay for the gas. “Yes, they are,” a confident Oettinger said.

He said the $4.6 billion deal should extend to the spring.

Oettinger said it was “perhaps first glimmer of a relaxation in the relations between neighbors.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the amount his government would pay for Russian gas would fall in line with global oil prices, which have tumbled in recent weeks.

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