Ukraine will guarantee transit of Russian gas to Europe - PM

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, speaking after a gas agreement with Russia was nailed down, said on Friday Ukraine would guarantee deliveries of gas through its territory to Europe to make sure Moscow had no room for "blackmailing".

Yatseniuk, speaking to Ukrainian energy officials, criticised Russia's South Stream project to transport Russian gas through the Black sea to Europe and added: "Ukraine will guarantee transit.

"It (Ukraine) will not give Russia the means of blackmailing Ukraine and Europe with different (gas) flows," he said.

Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal on Thursday that will see Moscow resume vital supplies of gas to its ex-Soviet neighbour over the winter in return for payments funded in part by Kiev's Western creditors.

After several failed rounds of talks in recent weeks as conflict rumbles on despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, the accord also eases concerns that a new "gas war" could disrupt winter supplies of energy to EU states, notably through pipelines shut down across Ukraine since June.

Yatseniuk said on Friday he would talk to the International Monetary Fund later in the day to discuss how to adapt his country's $17-billion stand-by programme with the lender following the gas deal.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing By Richard Balmforth, editing by Andrew Heavens)

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