Russia resumes gas supplies to Ukraine ahead of severe winter

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Russia’s gas monopoly Gasprom resumed supply to Ukraine on Monday, in a bid to help meet the country’s energy needs during the harsh winter months.

Gosprom CEO Alexei Miller said the goods, which had been withheld in the spring, had received $ 234 million since the $ 500 million advance from Kiev.

The agreement, signed last month with the help of the European Union, will ensure that Ukraine receives Russian gas for six months from March 2016.

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Past gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine have halted supplies. A conflict in 2009 caused severe disruptions to EU exports during the winter.

Temperatures in Ukraine can drop to as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) in winter, and most homes in Ukraine rely on piped gas for central heating.

Last winter, Russia and Ukraine made an emergency agreement on gas prices, but it expired.

Negotiations by the European Union, which seeks a similar agreement for the coming winter, began in March. Under the agreement, Russia reduced the price charged in Ukraine from $ 251 to $ 230 per 1,000 cubic meters, the same amount as it provided to neighboring countries.

The European Commission has pledged at least US $ 500 million to Ukraine for gas supplies.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and its support for separatist insurgents in the east worsened relations between the two countries. Ukraine then sought to reduce Russia’s dependence on gas by buying goods from European countries at lower prices than Russia.



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