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Ukraine Eyes New Gas Deal With Russia as Winter Looms

KIEV — Ukraine, which faces low gas reserves in the run-up to the winter season, hopes to sign a new gas agreement with Russia's Gazprom later this month, Andriy Kobolev, head of the Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz, said on Friday.

Kobolev gave no details of the new gas supply deal, which would be likely to run until the end of March 2016.

Moscow and Kiev agreed last year on a "winter package" for supplies with a price discount of $100 per thousand cubic meters and advance payments. That agreement expired on July 1 and has yet to be replaced.

Ukraine, which halted gas imports from Russia this July because of a pricing dispute, has built up 14.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in underground storage as of Sept. 7. It wants to store 18-19 bcm for winter by mid-October.

Ukraine draws on gas in underground storage to safeguard supply in winter and ensure there are no disruptions to the transit of Russian gas across the country to European Union clients.

Economic dealings between the two powers are complicated by a conflict between Ukrainian government troops and separatists in Ukraine's industrialized east in which up to 8,000 have been killed. Moscow denies Ukrainian and Western charges that its troops are directly supporting the separatists.

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