Ukraine, Russia extend gas deal talks after impasse

Trilateral talks in Brussels to restart the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine will continue on Thursday after the parties failed to reach an agreement on the first day of negotiations.

Despite frayed ties between Moscow and the West, envoys from Russia, the EU and Ukraine met Wednesday to settle a natural gas dispute that threatens energy-dependent Ukraine as winter approaches.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, speaking ahead of the Brussels meeting, said there was a 50 percent chance an interim deal could be reached.

In June, as fighting raged between Kyiv forces and separatists in Ukraine’s east, Moscow stopped gas supplies to Ukraine over what it said were about $5 billion of unpaid energy bills.

Russia is demanding prepayment to restart winter gas supplies, while Kyiv says it is working to raise more money internationally to pay the arrears.

The European Commission is considering Ukraine’s recent request for a new EU loan of about $2.5 billion.