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Russia, Ukraine and EU agree to meet in Berlin for gas talks on May 26

Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission have finally agreed to meet for gas talks in Berlin on May 26. The parties will be represented by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Ukraine's parliament appointed Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Prodan and EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger, a source at the European Commission's press service told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

A day earlier, on May 19, Novak told journalists after his talks with Gunther Oettinger that Russia could discuss discounts with Ukraine but it was impossible to return to the price that existed in the first quarter of 2014.

"We believe that it is impossible to use the figure of $268 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in our price discussions. That was the price for the first quarter established by a contract that had not been extended. We have the current contract and a price formula fixed in this contract according to which the price is $485 per 1,000 cubic meters. This is the price which can be considered," Novak told journalists.

"We can discuss discounts on this sum if mechanisms of settling (Ukraine's) outstanding debt and ensuring Ukraine's further solvency can be found," the Russian energy minister added.

"We do not understand the reasons for raising this question. The price of $268 cannot be considered under the current circumstances because it does not match even average European market prices," Novak explained.

At present, Naftogaz's debt for Russian gas is valued at $3.5 billion.

Both the European Commission and Ukraine have confirmed the size of Ukraine's outstanding debt for April 1, 2014.

"The Russian side continues meeting its gas commitments to Ukraine and European consumers," he said, adding the debt remained unpaid on May 19.

"We said we had not received a single payment in more than two months. We heard both from Ukraine and the European Commission that they confirmed the existing debt both in terms of its volume and price," Novak emphasized.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 20May14]

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