US 'Welcomes' End Of Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute

WASHINGTON, DC -- The United States said Thursday it "welcomes" the end to the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, and offered to help the European Union's efforts to enhance energy security.

Employees at the gas-compressor station Orlovka in the Izmail region, by the Ukraine-Romanian border.

"The United States welcomes the resolution of the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia. We understand gas flows have been restored to European customers," said acting State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

Both Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz confirmed that gas flows had resumed after they signed a 10-year contract on Monday to end their dispute.

"This incident underscores the need for transparent, market-oriented arrangements for the sale and shipment of natural gas and the importance of diversifying energy supplies," Wood added in a statement.

"The United States stands ready to support European Union efforts to enhance its energy security."

The crisis erupted on January 1 when Russia cut gas to Ukraine's domestic market over unpaid debts and demands for a higher price in 2009.

It escalated six days later, when all supplies for Europe transiting through Ukraine were halted, with Moscow accusing Kiev of stealing gas. Ukraine vehemently denied the allegation.

Source: AFP

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