BRUSSELS, December 4. /TASS/. Trilateral consultations of gas ministers of Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union are planned for December, a source in the European Commission told TASS.
"We welcome the ongoing bilateral contacts between Russia and Ukraine, while the European Commission also remains in close contact with both sides. We will build on this progress in the next round of trilateral consultations at political level, hosted by the Commission, envisaged to take place in December," the source said.
Answering a question about a possible trilateral meeting on December 5, the source said, "We cannot confirm any fixed date for the next ministerial talks".
Russia's Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said earlier that Russia and Ukraine may hold talks to resolve gas issues on December 5, if Gazprom and Naftogaz are ready.
The contract for the supply and transit of gas through Ukraine between Gazprom and Naftogaz ends on December 31, 2019. Russia, Ukraine, and the European Commission continue to hold consultations on the transit of Russian gas to the EU through Ukrainian territory since 2020, although the dialogue is complicated by litigations between Gazprom and Naftogaz.
Moscow offers a "package solution" that includes a settlement agreement on litigation and direct gas purchases at reduced rates. As a fallback, Russia is ready to extend the current transit agreement for 2020.
However, Ukraine considers rejection of litigation and signing of a short-term contract unacceptable. At the same time, in November, Executive Director of Naftogaz Yury Vitrenko announced that Ukraine would pump transit gas from Russia to its underground storage facilities if it would enter the country without an appropriate contract starting January 1, 2020.