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BELGRADE: Serbia, which has been trying to tread a delicate balancing act between East and West since Moscow invaded Ukraine, said Sunday it has secured a new long-term contract with Russia to ensure that it has sufficient gas supplies next winter.

As energy prices soar across the globe, the exact terms of the deal – which will ensure Serbia has “a safe winter when it comes to gas supply” – will be announced in the coming days, said President Aleksandar Vucic.

Vucic insisted the contract would give the Balkan country “by far the best terms in Europe”.

“At the moment, this is almost a third of what everyone else in Europe will pay, and in winter it will represent than one tenth” of what other countries pay, he said.

US natgas futures drop as output rises, demand slips

Serbia is currently almost wholly reliant on Russian energy supplies and imports about six million cubic metres of gas daily from Russian giant Gazprom.

Moscow also owns a majority stake in Serbia’s oil and gas company, NIS.

But the deal comes at a time when the European Union is trying to reduce its dependence on Russia for energy following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and is scheduled to discuss a possible embargo on Russian oil at an emergency summit on Monday.

Vucic also said that he had discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin the possible expansion of gas storage facilities in Serbia.

While Belgrade has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations, it has refused to take part in sanctions against Moscow.

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