Guenther Oettinger, due to meet Russia's energy
minister and the head of Gazprom in Berlin on Monday to set a
date for further talks with Kiev on the dispute, said he would
try to negotiate a price that lay between the two sides'
"We have a timeframe that ends on June 1. We want to do all we
can in two rounds of talks next week to clear up the open
questions," Oettinger told Germany's ARD television.
"Next Monday the next round of talks with the EU, Russia and
Ukraine are planned," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged EU leaders to do more
to help Ukraine through its economic crisis and resolve the
standoff over gas and has threatened to cut exports if Kiev
fails to pay in advance for June deliveries.
"We will do all we can to make sure Ukraine can pay what it has
missed in the last quarter of a year."
The main problem is price. Ukraine insists on a price of $268.50
per 1,000 cubic meters of gas and Russia standing by its demand
"We want to negotiate a market price for Ukraine so that it is
in a better position than it would be with the demands Mr Putin
has been making since April 1," said Oettinger.
"Somewhere in the middle would seem to be a fair result of
negotiations," he said.
Ukraine, dependent on Russia for more than half of its gas
needs, has refused to pay the price Russia is asking, accusing
Moscow of using energy supplies to punish the country for trying
to break free from its influence.
Gazprom has stood firm, saying it is sticking to a 2009 contract
signed by Kiev and has threatened to cut supplies if Kiev fails
to redeem its debt.
Moscow has twice before reduced gas supplies over price disputes
which have disrupted gas deliveries to Europe, which takes about
half of the gas it imports from Russia via pipelines through
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Stephen Brown)
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