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No Ukraine-Russia gas deal but talks to continue

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: EU-brokered talks to solve a gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which threatens to hit parts of Europe this winter, broke up in Brussels without agreement but should resume later Thursday, sources said.

The talks, which opened in Brussels on Wednesday, seek to resolve a dispute that has become increasingly fraught since Russia cut supplies to Ukraine in June.

Moscow is demanding that the new pro-Western government in Kiev pay sharply higher prices in advance for new deliveries after it ran up what Moscow said was an unpaid bill of $5.3 billion (4.1 billion euros).

That supply cut has heightened concerns that Europe, which gets about a third of its gas from Russia of which about a half transits via Ukraine, could be badly affected by the dispute this winter.

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told reporters the common goal was to clinch “an interim solution” to ensure supplies through the cold season.

The gas talks are expected to resume Thursday evening, sources close to the negotiations said.-AFP

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