EU hopes for Russia-Ukraine gas deal despite slow progress

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top energy official says he's optimistic Russia and Ukraine can conclude a new gas transit agreement by the end of the year even though several issues need to be resolved.

Energy Commissioner Maros Sefcovic said Thursday that there was "a sense of urgency" at talks in Brussels between the two countries' energy ministers and the heads of their biggest gas companies.

They are discussing a new long-term agreement on natural gas flows after the current one expires in January.

Sefcovic says agreement must still be found on the duration of the contract, transit volumes and tariffs.

The two countries have been embroiled in numerous gas price wars and concern is mounting that Moscow might turn the taps off mid-winter.

Russia sends some gas to Europe via Ukraine.

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