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  Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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The prime minister of the Czech Republic, currently holding
The prime minister of the Czech Republic, currently holding the EU presidency, will arrive in Kiev Friday to discuss the situation around Russian gas transit to Europe, the Ukrainian premier's spokeswoman said.

"The head of the Ukrainian government, Yulia Tymoshenko, is scheduled to meet her Czech counterpart [Mirek Topolanek] in the airport. The talks will be held in the evening," the Unian agency quoted Marina Soroka as saying.

Russia and Ukraine failed to agree on New Year's Eve on how to settle Kiev's gas debts or on a contract for 2009 deliveries. As a result, gas supplies from Russia to European consumers through Ukraine were reduced and then halted, affecting in particular Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Bosnia, Italy, Poland, France, Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia.

Around 80% of Russia's gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine.

Russian energy giant Gazprom earlier accused Ukraine of stealing more than 86 million cubic meters of gas since the start of the year, but Kiev denied the accusations saying that Russia was trying to discredit Ukraine as a reliable gas transit partner.

European Union experts are to arrive in Ukraine on Friday to monitor Russian gas transit to Europe. The deal was reached between the European Commission and the Ukrainian government on Thursday.

The situation has reawakened concerns in Europe about the reliability of Russia as an energy supplier.

The 2006 gas row between the two former Soviet states resulted in a brief cutoff in supplies to Ukraine. When shortages were reported in some Eastern European countries, Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning off Europe-bound gas.


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