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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Says Ukraine Again Siphoning Off Gas

After a brief lull, Ukraine is again illegally siphoning off Russian natural gas from pipelines running through its territory, a Russian official charged Wednesday.

Ukraine siphoned off some 900 million cubic meters of natural gas from transit pipelines between Dec. 17 and Dec. 22, said Yury Nogotkov, spokesman for the Fuel and Energy Ministry.

"When they take it, it's an average of some 100 million cubic meters of gas a day," he said. On Tuesday, he said, Ukraine stole some 92 million cubic meters of gas.

Russia managed to halt the practice in mid-December after it said it would cut oil supplies to Ukraine and disconnect its electric power grid from Ukraine's, and it hashed out the issue with a Ukrainian government delegation in Moscow.

But the theft has resumed, Nogotkov said.

According to Itar-Tass, officials from the Russian natural gas monopoly, Gazprom, met with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko on Monday to discuss the issue but couldn't come to an agreement.

Energy-starved Ukraine is heavily dependent on Russia's natural gas and oil. It gets some gas and oil as payment for allowing Russia to transit the commodities across Ukraine to Central and Eastern Europe. Some 90 percent of Gazprom's exports pass through Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine has racked up at least $1 billion in debts for gas purchases from Russia, although the two countries have agreed in principle to restructure the debt.