Ukraine's Yushchenko, EU's Solana welcome Gazprom deal
(dpa) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and the European Union's top foreign-policy official, Javier Solana, on Thursday cautiously welcomed a deal closing the most recent row over Russian gas supplies to Ukraine.
"Generally I am OK with the arrangement because it is in the same context as before ... But there are some things that have to be assessed," Yushchenko told reporters after a meeting with Solana in Brussels.
At the meeting, the two "agreed that it was very important that the question be resolved with Russia ... For us it is important that the agreement is not only signed, but implemented," Solana said.
Thursday's deal between Russian state energy monopolist Gazprom and Ukraine's equivalent, Naftohaz Ukrainy, set out terms of Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine planned for the remainder of 2008.
Tensions over price rises and alleged debts have simmered between the two sides ever since late 2005, with the most dramatic moment coming when Gazprom shut off gas supplies to Ukraine on new year's day, 2006, causing shortfalls across much of Europe.
Analysts say that Thursday's deal could go a long way towards ending the dispute. However, Yushchenko stressed that further details on pricing needed to be discussed.