Trilateral negotiations on natural gas issues involving Ukraine, EU, and Russia could start as early as July, according to Vice President of the European Commission for the Energy Union and coordination of the EU Space Strategy, Maros Sefcovic.

"W/#Energy Minister Novak on the margins of the @WGC2018 in #Washington. Focused on the @EU_Commission's priority of a prospective trilateral process w/#Russia & #Ukraine. As time is of the essence, I'm looking forward to its start ideally in July. Stay tuned!" Sefcovic tweeted Tuesday.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the current gas transit contract between Ukraine and Gazprom was signed off in 2009 for a 10-year term. Once it expires, the Russian gas monopoly intends to significantly cut gas transit via Ukraine.

It is expected that the conditions for the future transit will also be discussed during the talks.

In late February 2018, Gazprom lost in a gas dispute with Naftogaz (Ukraine) in the Stockholm Arbitration. It was ultimately obliged to pay Naftogaz $2.56 billion. The arbitration also ruled that the Russian company had in 2018-2019 to supply to Ukraine 10 billion cubic meters of gas at prices equaling those set at Germany's gas hubs.

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Gazprom failed to fulfill obligation under the arbitration award, which led to a short gas crisis of March 2-3 (a temporary gas deficit in Ukraine's GTS) which was tackled due to consumption cuts and gas imports from the EU.

On March 12, EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said that Gazprom had to respect its obligations on gas supplied to Ukraine.