Germany, EU launch talks on Russia-Ukraine gas transit

Germany is hosting European Union-brokered talks between Moscow and Kiev on the future transit of Russian gas through Ukraine after the current contract expires next year.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier met Tuesday with Russia's energy minister, Ukraine's foreign minister and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.

Russian gas piped through Ukraine to the EU brings Kiev revenue but also regular friction with Moscow. U.S.-opposed plans for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine, have increased that tension.

Altmaier said Tuesday's meeting didn't address Nord Stream 2. He said he expects difficult talks but "it's possible to reach solutions ensuring that Ukraine's justified security interests are protected well beyond 2020 and that substantial gas transit from Russia to Europe through Ukraine will take place."