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The European Union's executive body is concerned by the deepening disagreements
The European Union's executive body is concerned by the deepening disagreements between Russia and Ukraine over Kiev's gas debt, but has no plans to intervene, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Gunnar Wiegand, head of the European Commission's Unit for Relations with Russia, said the matter was not part of the commission's remit, since it involved a commercial dispute between companies of third countries.

He expressed hope that the parties settle their disagreements in the future and that no problems arise with Russian gas supplies to Europe.

According to Russia, Ukraine's Naftogaz national gas company owes Gazprom $2.4 billion in unpaid bills for the gas supplied in September, October and November 2008, including fines and penalties.

Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy chief executive, told the Financial Times on Monday that talks with Ukraine were "far away from a settlement," and suggested the country should not be allowed to "steal the gas."

The paper hinted that Gazprom is heading for a confrontation with Ukraine over unpaid debts and future prices that "could disrupt gas supplies to the European Union."

Gazprom executives will meet with EC officials in Brussels later on Tuesday to try and explain the reasons behind the monopoly's determined stance in forcing Ukraine to repay the debt.


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