BRATISLAVA, April 28 (Reuters) - 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 supplies than it hoped to cushion the blow should Russia turn off the taps.
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.
Under the deal, Slovakia will make technical adjustments to an old unused pipeline to ship around 8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas starting in the autumn. A fallback option would see smaller volumes initially before ramping up to 8 bcm by April, European Commission officials said.
Ukraine - which consumes around 55 bcm annually - has been pushing for another technical solution allowing larger volumes, but Slovakia has resisted because it fears doing so would violate its contracts with Gazprom. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka, Wrting by Michael Kahn, Editing by William Hardy)