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Moscow Cuts Oil Shipments To Key Ukrainian Refinery

Kiev, Jan. 25 (RFE/RL) - Russia has halted oil deliveries to a key refinery in Ukraine after talks on an oil-pipeline dispute between the two countries broke off.

Our Kiev correspondent reports that the talks which began Monday broke off yesterday, and are not scheduled to resume until Feb 2. Ukrainian pipeline officials say they expect Russia again to shut down all oil shipments through the Druzhba pipeline to Europe. The current shutdown affects the Drogobych refinery, one of two major refineries on the Druzhba pipeline.

Ukraine notified Russia's oil and gas ministry in November that it would raise pipeline transit fees by an average of ten percent in 1996. When the higher fees took effect on Jan. 1, Moscow responded by cutting shipments. Supplies to Hungary were interrupted only briefly, but oil shipments to Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany were cut off for eleven days. Those shipments were resumed when Moscow and Kiev agreed to open talks on the transit fee issue.

Interfax news agency says supplies to Europe have not been disrupted by Moscow's latest action.