Ukraine has again rejected an application from Gazprom for the transit of 99.2 million cubic meters of Russian gas through its territory to Europe, a spokesman for the Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz said on Friday, RIA Novosti informed.

The Russian energy giant received a third refusal from Naftogaz to transit a similar amount of Russian gas on to Europe on Thursday. The Ukrainian company cited the absence of a "technical" gas transfer agreement for 2009.

"A similar application to the one supplied yesterday has been received [from Gazprom]," said Valentin Zemlyansky, adding that gas transits were still impossible.

Naftogaz earlier asked Gazprom to supply gas through the Valuiki and Pisarevka exit points, not through the Sudzha station, but the Russian gas monopoly rejected the request.

Ukraine has said if it transits Russian gas through Sudzha it will leave its Lugansk, Donetsk and Odessa regions, as well as part of the Dnepropetrovsk Region, without gas.

Russia is hoping that the European Union will persuade Ukraine to meet the country's gas transit obligations, the Russian foreign minister said on Friday.

"The EU must exhibit its famous solidarity and explain to our Ukrainian colleagues that failure to fulfill the contract on the transit of Russian gas to Europe, which is valid until 2010, is unacceptable," Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev invited on Thursday his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko to attend a gas summit planned for Saturday in Moscow to try and find a solution to the gas dispute. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Czech Energy Minister Martin Riman, whose country holds the EU presidency, are also expected to take part.


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