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    Czech Republic Could Move to Ease EU Sanctions on Russia: Prime Minister

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    The European Union should consider easing its economic sanctions against Russia if it succeeds to negotiate natural gas deliveries with Ukraine, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in an interview published Wednesday by the Mlada fronta Dnes daily.

    PRAGUE, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union should consider easing its economic sanctions against Russia if it succeeds to negotiate natural gas deliveries with Ukraine, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in an interview published Wednesday by the Mlada fronta Dnes daily.

    "In my opinion, it is absolutely legitimate – if Russia continues to show its good will, and the tension [in Ukraine] subsides, and both parties deliver on their promises – that the European Union should consider easing or winding down sanctions," Bohuslav Sobotka said.

    He added that the restart of Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine ahead of the winter season was a crucial aspect of the plan.

    "Russia could also show its good will in the handling of this issue. And if it does, this could be a good opportunity for a certain gesture of good will on the part of the EU," the Czech prime minister added.

    He also said that the Czech Republic could be the initiator of EU policy revision toward Russia.

    Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan announced on Monday that another round of gas talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union may take place next week. The exact date is not known yet and may be announced in the next two days, Russia's Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said on Tuesday.

    During a ministerial gas meeting held in Berlin on September 26, Moscow and the European Commission proposed the so-called winter package, the deal that would seek Ukraine pay $3.1 billion of its debt to Russia by the end of the year in exchange for gas deliveries during winter months at $385 per 1,000 cubic meters.

    Ukraine is not satisfied with the package saying it wants to agree the debt repayment schedule, as well as terms and schedules of future gas deliveries and insists on amending the current gas contract with Russia in order to formally authorize reverse deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine from Europe.

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    sanctions, gas, European Union, Bohuslav Sobotka
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