Russia and Ukraine agree gas supply deal

Oct 31, 2014, 1:35 AM EDT
 EU Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger (2nd L) and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic (2nd R) look on as Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (L), EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (C) and Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan (R) address a press conference after an agreement was signed between Ukraine, Russia and the EU at the European Union Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on October 30, 2014.
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Russia has agreed to resume gas supplies to Ukraine over the winter in a deal brokered by the European Union. The BBC writes:

The deal will also ensure gas supplies to EU countries via Ukraine are secure. "There is now no reason for people in Europe to stay cold this winter,'' said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

European Union energy chief Guenther Oettinger said he was confident that Ukraine would be able to afford to pay for the gas it needed. He added that the agreement might be the "first glimmer" of hope in easing tensions between Russian and Ukraine.

"This is an important step for our shared energy security in the European continent," Mr Barroso said. The deal follows months of talks between EU officials and the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers. The terms include the EU acting as guarantor for Ukraine's gas purchases from Russia and helping to meet outstanding debts.

The total package is worth $4.6bn (£2.87bn), with money coming from the International Monetary Fund as well as the EU. The total includes funds from existing accords with the EU and IMF. "Unprecedented levels of EU aid will be disbursed in a timely manner, and the International Monetary Fund has reassured Ukraine that it can use all financial means at its disposal to pay for gas," the EC said in a statement. "Further work with the international financial institutions on financial assistance to Ukraine, also in relation to gas supplies, will still continue. But all three sides are reassured that Ukraine will have the necessary financial means."