ARKHANGELSK, September 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s visit to Russia, scheduled for September 24, will be a good opportunity to discuss the gas issue, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Thursday.
However, he stressed that Russia's position remained unchanged.
"There is an existing contract, and all negotiations are to be conducted under that contract,” he said. “I would like to further discuss the form and schedule of Naftogaz restructuring."
Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov voiced the hope that the summit meeting in Moscow "will pave the way for a new gas contract."
"At least we have this hope, and our president is going to Moscow with this in mind,” Azarov said.
However, Moscow has repeatedly stressed that Ukraine must act within the framework of long-term 2009 arrangements. According to President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia is “ready to discuss various cooperation schemes with the Ukrainian counterparts: advanced, based on integration ... or some other approaches, including investment presence in the economy and in the gas transportation system of Ukraine."
"If we manage to agree these issues, we will probably be ready to consider changes in the scheme of cooperation," said Medvedev. "But at the same time there remain immutable things: gas cooperation is always based on a formula, and the formula is universal," he stressed. "Moreover, it also applies to Ukraine and other countries. Speculations to the effect that ‘we are paying more than any other state’ are baseless. This is pure propaganda," said Medvedev.
"Ukraine pays by the same formula, and it pays money commensurate with the money paid by other European consumers," the Russian leader recalled. "Prices are high, this is true, but they happen to be extremely low and in this case it is a problem for the energy supplier, so I hope that Ukrainian consumers will properly perform the contract, and we shall be able to negotiate and agree on our future business affairs," Medvedev said.