Gazprom says Russia, Ukraine fail to strike gas deal

Russia and Ukraine failed to strike a deal on the price of Russian gas during negotiations in Moscow, the Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom said Tuesday. In a face-off that could threaten gas supplies to Europe, Russia has asked Ukraine from 2006 to pay a European rate of US$160 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas, rather than the current price of US$50.

Ukraine had rejected the hike as well as Russia's offer to pay the full market transit price for the gas it sends through Ukraine.

Most of Russia's natural gas exports pass through Ukraine to European markets and the standoff has raised the possibility that those supplies could be interrupted. Gazprom supplies a quarter of Europe's gas.

The Russian company has warned that an agreement must be reached by Dec. 31 but has not explicitly threatened to cut off the gas taps to Ukraine if that does not happen, the AP reported. It named no date for a resumption of the talks. P.L.