Tentative deal in Ukraine-Russia gas dispute, EU says

The European Union's energy commissioner says a tentative deal has been reached for Ukraine's gas company to pay $2 billion to Russia's Gazprom to end a dispute over Ukraine's gas debts and prevent a cutoff of Russian supplies.

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Monday after meeting the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers in Berlin that both sides still need to consult with their political leaders and gas companies, and have until Wednesday evening. He stressed "we are not done" but said he is optimistic.

Oettinger says the deal calls for Ukraine's Naftogaz to make an initial $2 billion payment to Gazprom on Thursday. Then Russia would hold EU-brokered talks in Berlin on Friday with Ukraine on the price of gas delivered in April, May and in future.