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Ukraine to Pump More Gas from Slovakia After Russian Imports Suspended

An employee stands near gas pipes at a gas underground storage in Lviv region, Ukraine.

KIEV — Ukraine will take about 21 percent more gas from Slovakia to boost deliveries to underground storage after the country suspended imports from Russia over a pricing dispute, transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz said on Friday.

Ukraine plans to import 16.5 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas on Friday from Slovakia, up from daily imports of 13.6 mcm so far this month, a spokesman for the company said.

He said Ukraine pumped 27 mcm of gas per day from July 1-9 and collected 12.2 billion cubic meters of gas in reserves as of July 10.

Ukrainian energy officials say Ukrtransgaz must store about 60 mcm of gas per day to ensure it has enough gas to meet demand during the winter and to guarantee the transit of Russian gas to European consumers.

With Ukraine's economy close to bankruptcy because of years of economic mismanagement and fighting against pro-Russian rebels in the country's east, officials say Kiev is facing a shortage of money for gas purchases.

Talks with Russia broke down late last month after officials were unable to agree on a pricing plan for the next quarter, threatening transit flows into Europe. About half of Russian gas exports to Europe go through Ukrainian territory.

The European Commission is in "intense communication" with Ukraine and international institutions to help Kiev pay for gas supplies for next winter, Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said this week.

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