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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine PM Says Gas Not Topic in Talks With Putin

KIEV — Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Wednesday that issues of gas relations with Russia will not be discussed when she meets Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this week.

"Gas issues will not be discussed," she told reporters.

This appeared to directly contradict what she said last weekend when she told reporters that she and Putin would discuss how to "optimize" the price of Russian gas "and how to optimize all our relations."

Tymoshenko and Putin are to meet for bilateral talks in Yalta, southern Ukraine, on Thursday.

Analysts have been expecting these talks to provide indications on whether there could be another end-of-year gas dispute affecting supplies of Russian natural gas across Ukraine to Europe.

Europe was left short of gas for three weeks in January this year in the dead of winter after a dispute between Moscow and Kiev over prices and payment terms.

The conflict ended only after Putin and Tymoshenko reached a 10-year deal, but questions of whether Ukraine could meet monthly payments for gas have persisted because of the dire state of Ukraine's economy.

Pressed by reporters, Tymoshenko said, "No new agreement exists. It is not needed."

Asked if there was a guarantee of stable gas supplies to Europe across Ukraine in 2010, she said, "There is an absolute guarantee of stability."