(Adds possible date on trilateral talks, G7 background)
KIEV, June 6 Ukraine and Russia will restart
talks over the weekend aimed at resolving a dispute over gas
prices while Kiev is considering paying off its bill for past
supply, a Ukrainian government source said on Friday.
With a June 10 deadline for payment issued by the Russians,
the aim is to avert a possible cut-off in flows to Ukraine, a
move that could also affect gas supplies to Europe.
Russian gas exporter Gazprom says Kiev owes more
than $4 billion for gas already delivered and wants prepayment
for future supplies.
"The talks will continue on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We
expect to come up with a decision on Tuesday (June 10)," the
Ukrainian government source told Reuters, adding that the
Ukrainian leadership may agree to pay off its gas debts for
The two sides differ on how much is owed by Ukrainian state
energy company Naftogaz. Ukraine has put its debt for 2013 and
2014 as of April 1 at $2.2 billion. It paid $786 million last
Gazprom, which puts the figure at $4.46 billion, declined to
comment on Friday.
European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has acted as
mediator in three-way talks between Ukraine, Russia and the EU.
Russia meets about a third of the European Union's gas
needs, with almost half of that piped via Ukraine.
At three-way talks in Brussels on Monday, bringing together
the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers and the Commission,
Oettinger said the chief executives of Naftogaz and Gazprom had
held separate negotiations citing the commercial sensitivity of
A European Commission spokeswoman said on Friday there was
no decision on when further trilateral talks might be held, but
the Commission had suggested June 11 as a possible date.
Gazprom lowered prices for Ukraine to $268.5 per 1,000 cubic
metres in January after Ukraine's former pro-Russia President
Viktor Yanukovich ditched plans to forge closer ties between
Kiev and the EU.
Russia hiked the price to $485 in April after Yanukovich was
ousted and a pro-Western government came to power in Kiev.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; additional reporting by Barbara
Lewis in Brussels; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by