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  Saturday, January 23, 2021
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Gazprom expects a deal to be signed on Saturday to resume
Gazprom expects a deal to be signed on Saturday to resume gas transit to Europe via Ukraine, a spokesman for the Russian energy giant said.

"We will see. We are hopeful. The main thing is to ensure the transit of gas," Sergei Kupriyanov told journalists on the sidelines of an international gas summit in the Kremlin.

He added that basic accords on setting up an international consortium to guarantee continuous deliveries of Russian gas via Ukraine could also be agreed.

Kupriyanov said Dutch company GasTerra and Austria's OMV had agreed to join the international consortium, which Gazprom, Germany's E.ON, Ruhrgas and Wingas, Gaz de France and Italy's Eni agreed to set up on Friday.

Gazprom's official spokesman also said that Ukraine had rejected a Russian proposal on swap operations to restart gas deliveries to Slovakia and Moldova, two of the countries hardest hit by the break in supplies.

"There are no official documents, but informally they [the Ukrainian side] have said they will not do it," Kupriyanov said.

Looking beyond the immediate crisis, the official said it showed the necessity of Gazprom opening up other export routes, particularly the South Stream pipeline from the Black Sea to the Balkans and Central Europe.

"Today the urgency of this question is obvious to everyone," Kupriyanov said.

Intergovernmental agreements on the project have been signed with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Greece, while deals with Slovenia and Austria are in the works.

Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine on January 1 after the former Soviet neighbors failed to agree on debt and prices for 2009. The halt in shipments to the EU came a week later, with Gazprom accusing Kiev of stealing gas intended for EU consumers. Ukraine has denied the accusation.


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