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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gas Talks Progress

KIEV () -- Russian gas officials holding talks in Ukraine were warming to Kiev's new scheme allowing private companies to import natural gas, a Ukranian official said Friday.

Kiev authorized a handful of private firms to import gas beginning Jan. 1, a move intended to reduce the state's role as supplier. But Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom, whose officials are in Kiev this week, has been demanding that the new importers cough up payment guarantees from the government or big banks.

"Ukraine's new system is not being questioned at all during the talks. We think it has worked reasonably well so far," said Vladimir Maximov of Ukraine's State Committee on Oil and Gas. Gazprom officials had no comment on the talks.