Fri, January 09, 2009
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Resolving the Russia Ukraine gas row

2009-01-09 06:08:58 GMT2009-01-09 14:08:58 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

In freezing temperatures, this Hungarian mum is glad to still be able to use gas in her home.

UPSOUND

The gas pricing row between Moscow and Kiev has affected hundreds of thousands of people right across Europe - after Russian gas supplies via Ukraine stopped right in the middle of winter.

Places in the Balkans - like here in Serbia - were left without gas, while deliveries to places as far west as France and Germany were disrupted.

Overnight talks between Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom, and Ukraine's state-run energy firm Naftogaz ended without result.

The European Union was left calling for a quick resolution to the dispute.

The head of Gazprom, speaking in Brussels, said they would restore supplies of gas to Europe via Ukraine once international monitors are in place to monitor the gas flow.

SOUNDBITE: Alexei Miller, Gazprom CEO, saying (Russian):

"We already reached an agreement with our European partners that once we set up this committee of monitors and the monitors are deployed and they have confirmed we already have 100 percent deliveries then of course we will suppy gas as usual."

The EU says monitors can be there in two days.

The head of Ukraine's Naftogaz was also in Brussels on Thursday.

But the head of Gazprom said the two sides hadn't held a special meeting there - but would hold face-to-face talks while flying back to Moscow together.

Even when the dispute is fully resolved - it may some time to get gas flowing again to Europe.

Ukraine has said it would need 36 hours to renew the transit of Russian gas.

And while the European countries whose gas has been cut off will welcome the resumption in Russian fuel supply - the fallout from the row between Moscow and Kiev will have certainly made them aware that they need to rethink their energy options.

Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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