EU: Ukraine to make 1st gas payment

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BERLIN (AP) — A top European Union official says Ukraine's gas company is paying $786 million to its Russian counterpart as a first step toward paying Kiev's debts and preventing a supply cutoff.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Ukraine's Naftogaz told a meeting Friday it had ordered the payment. Russia's Gazprom and the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers were also present at the meeting.

Oettinger said Russia's representatives declared themselves ready to resume talks on Ukraine's outstanding gas debts and its future gas price in Brussels Monday — provided they receive the money Monday as expected.

Oettinger described the outcome as "progress but not a breakthrough."

Russia has stepped up gas pressure on Ukraine since the latter's pro-Russian president was chased from power in February.