Ukrainian energy minister says to start gas talks with Hungary

BRATISLAVA, April 28 Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:12am EDT

BRATISLAVA, April 28 (Reuters) - Ukraine will soon start gas import talks with Hungary and seek European Union support to negotiate more supply from Slovakia, Ukraine Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said on Monday.

Ukraine has been trying to secure alternative supplies to those from Russia's Gazprom since Russia annexed Crimea last month and Gazprom raised prices for its gas to levels Ukraine is refusing to pay.

Slovakia and Ukraine signed a deal on Monday that allows the European Union to send a limited amount of gas to Ukraine, although providing Kiev with less than it hoped to cushion the blow should Russia turn off the taps.

"It is written in the memorandum that Slovakia, with the support of the European Commission, will seek a dialogue with Gazprom on the large reverse flow to Ukraine," Prodan told reporters.

Currently, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland are Ukraine's best hope for deliveries from the European Union, which would likely be Russian gas re-exported back to Ukraine (Reporting by Jan Lopatka, Writing by Michael Kahn, Editing by William Hardy)

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