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EU: Gas Supplies Secure for Now


The European Union says its natural gas supplies are secure for now, but the price dispute between Russia and Ukraine needs an immediate solution.

A spokesman for the current EU president, the Czech Republic, called the dispute a serious problem.

But he said European supplies are not yet threatened. He said gas reserves and other delivery routes will make up for any shortages caused by Russia's cut off of deliveries to Ukraine.

On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the state-run company Gazprom to cut the amount of gas pumped through Ukraine, because he said Ukraine is diverting the gas for its own use rather than sending it on to Europe.

The European Union gets about 25 percent of its gas from Russia and much of it comes through pipelines running across Ukraine.

Russia cut off deliveries to Ukraine on January first. It accuses Kyiv of not paying its gas bill for November and December. Russia also wants to charge Ukraine double the price Kiyv says it is willing to pay for gas in 2009.

An EU delegation plans to hold talks with Russian officials in Moscow Tuesday before heading to Kiyv for a meeting with Ukrainian officials.

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