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Russia, Ukraine Reach Gas Deal

Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement to ensure Russian gas supplies to Ukraine for the month of March, averting possible cuts that could have hit supplies to the European Union.

The breakthrough followed EU-mediated talks in Brussels on March 2 involving Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn.

Moscow threatened to turn off the taps to Ukraine on March 3 unless it received outstanding pre-payments, as agreed in a deal last October.

Complicating the dispute has been deliveries to Ukraine's rebel-held east.

Last week, Russia began directly pumping gas to rebel-held areas after Kyiv cut them.

Moscow said those deliveries should be counted in gas exports to Ukraine.

Under the agreement, Kyiv and Moscow agreed the supply issue in eastern Ukraine "is highly complex in legal, technical and political terms," and that more talks would be required.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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