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Ukraine eyes arbitration if Russia doesn't cut gas price

Saturday, 5 April 2014 - 4:03pm IST | Place: Kiev | Agency: Reuters
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Ukraine will take Russia to an arbitration court if talks fail to bring about a cut in natural gas prices, Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said on Saturday.

Under pressure from two gas price hikes this week which have nearly doubled the price Ukraine pays, Kiev is in emergency talks with European neighbours to secure more supplies, as well as with Russia, which delivers the lion's share of Ukraine's needs.

"If we don't come to an agreement (with Russia) then there is a procedure laid out in our contract, going to the arbitration court in Stockholm," Prodan told journalists before a cabinet meeting.

"We are not trying to break our contract but to set up a fair price like in Europe," he said.

Easing nerves in Europe, Prodan said Ukraine would not siphon off gas from pipelines that cross its territory to deliver Russian gas supplies to Europe if Moscow turned off gas to Ukraine.

Russia has accused Ukraine of stealing gas intended for European customers during gas pricing conflicts in 2006 and again in 2009, which led to supply shortfalls in Europe.

Ukraine, which is in an economic crisis, covers half its needs with Russian gas. However, relations between the countries became hostile after protesters ousted pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich in February, after which Russia seized Crimea, leading to the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.




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