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Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz
Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz are preparing documents to restart gas supplies to Europe, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said on Sunday.

The prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine said early on Sunday they had reached a deal that would make it possible to restart gas supplies to Europe. The premiers instructed Gazprom and Naftogaz to prepare and sign a formal agreement.

"Gazprom and Naftogaz are currently preparing contracts for signing on gas supply to Ukrainian consumers and corresponding agreements on gas transit. The main result is the agreement on the resumption of Russian gas transit by Ukraine through its territory and the agreement on the terms of work this year and next year," Kupriyanov said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said after the talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko that Ukraine will pay the European price for Russian natural gas with a 20% discount this year while Kiev will not increase the current transit fees it receives for Russian gas.

From 2010, Ukraine will pay the full market price for Russian natural gas while Russia will pay European market pries for transit, Putin said.

Ukraine paid $179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian natural gas in 2008, which is less than half the price paid by European consumers. The European price for natural gas in the first quarter of this year stands at about $450 per 1,000 cu m but is expected to fall significantly later this year to reflect the decrease in world oil prices.

Tymoshenko said that the talks were uneasy. "But we had come to mutual understanding, which makes it possible to sign all contract documents."

"As soon as the documents are signed, all natural gas deliveries will be restored," Tymoshenko said.

Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine on January 1 after the former Soviet neighbors failed to agree on debt and prices for 2009. A week later, Gazprom cut off gas supplies to the European Union, saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.

Following mediation by the EU, the two sides agreed to resume supplies, but deliveries had not restarted, with each side blaming the other over the impasse.


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