Gazprom, Naftogaz hold talks in Brussels

The heads of the Russian and the Ukrainian state gas companies Gazprom and Naftogas held talks under the aegis of the European Union in Brussels on Thursday. A first meeting in Moscow late on Wednesday night had achieved very little.


AFP - The chiefs of the Russian and Ukrainian state gas companies held bilateral talks in Brussels on the gas crisis on Thursday, their second such meeting within 24 hours, a top Ukrainian official told AFP.

The meeting between the chief executive of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller and Oleg Dubina, the chief of Ukraine state gas company Naftogaz came amid EU efforts to end a crisis that risks depriving consumers of gas.

"I can confirm that the meeting has started at the initiative of the Russian side," Andriy Veselovsky, the head of Ukraine's mission to the EU, told AFP by telephone from Brussels.

"They (the Russians) came up and offered to hold a meeting," he said. "A meeting is being held in one of the European Parliament rooms."

The RIA-Novosti news agency reported from Brussels that the meeting was now over but that Dubina declined to give any comment afterwards. Gazprom officials were not immedtiately available for comment.

Earlier, Dubina told the Interfax news agency in Brussels that talks with Miller had been planned but were "cancelled by the Russian side," in comments seen as a blow to hopes for a swift resolution to the conflict.

The two men had held face-to-face talks overnight in the Russian capital Moscow on ways to end their gas crisis, the first time they met since Moscow cut gas deliveries to Kiev on New Year's Day.

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