Russia and Ukraine have agreed to new terms for the transshipment of oil to Europe. The deal, together with an existing natural gas transit contract, appears to have averted another year-end European energy crisis.
Neither Moscow nor Kyiv have released full details of the oil deal. But the Russian energy ministry says it only covers 2010.
For his part, Ukrainian official Valentyn Zemlyansky says the new pact calls for Moscow to pay 30 percent more in transit fees than last year. He said the volume of oil piped into his country will remain at 2009 levels.
A dispute one year ago over natural gas pricing led to a cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe. Those shortages in Eastern Europe led to European and U.S. charges that both Moscow and Kyiv had become unreliable trading partners.
Last month, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko vowed her country would pay its gas bill in full and abide by a 10-year gas contract signed early this year. She said Ukraine struggled to make its monthly payments to Moscow this year because of the global economic downturn.
At that time, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin guaranteed Russia will fulfill its energy agreements, saying he wanted the new year to begin without, in his words, "any shocks."
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.