June 2, 2014 9:23 am

Ukraine pleads with Russia to head off fuel crisis

EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger addresses a news conference as part of a meeting of the European Union, Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak and Ukraine's energy minister Yuri Prodan.

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

BRUSSELS – Russia and Ukraine are holding new talks aimed at resolving their dispute over gas prices and prevent a possible supply cutoff this week by Moscow.

Monday’s negotiations will be chaired by European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger and feature both countries’ energy ministers.

READ MORE: Complete coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis

Russia urges Kyiv to settle its outstanding gas debts — the amount of which is being disputed — and says it wants payment up front for future deliveries or it might restrict supplies starting Tuesday.

Ukraine said after a first meeting last week it has transferred $786 million to Russia’s state energy company Gazprom to cover February and March deliveries.

Ukraine, which saw price discounts granted by Russia cancelled following the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, has been seeking a new price agreement before settling debts.

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