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Putin informs European leaders of critical situation around Ukraine gas debt

April 10, 2014, 16:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier, a source close to the matter said Vladimir Putin had sent a letter to the leaders of European countries who buy Russian natural gas over the situation around Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Grabar

MOSCOW, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his proposals to the leaders of the European countries buying gas from Russia in connection with a critical situation around Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed.

“Indeed, such a message has been sent,” Dmitry Peskov said commenting on earlier reports on the matter. “Today it is passed through diplomatic channels to leaders of states-consumer of Russian natural gas,” the presidential spokesperson said.

“The letter expresses extreme concern over the current situation, notes its critical nature and features a number of concrete proposals,” Peskov added.

Earlier, a source close to the matter said Vladimir Putin had sent a letter to the leaders of European countries who buy Russian natural gas over the situation around Ukraine.

“After a meeting that the president held the day before with the government presidium, Putin sent a letter to heads of European states buying Russian gas,” the source added.

“The letter contains detailed description of the critical situation that developed against the backdrop of Ukraine’s growing debt for gas being supplied to it, as well as possible consequences for gas transit to Europe,” he said.


Ukraine’s overall debt to Russia stands at $16 billion

On Wednesday, April 9, President Vladimir Putin held a special meeting devoted to the situation around Ukraine.

“Three billion dollars is Ukraine’s debt, the accumulated gas debt stands at $2.2 billion, and what we consider Russia's profit shortfall stands $11.4 billion, which brings the total sum to $16.6 billion,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the meeting.

Infographics Russian gas in Europe Russian gas in Europe
One-third of gas consumed in EU comes from Russia. Infographics ITAR-TASS
He recalled that Russia and Ukraine have an agreement signed in 2009, which should be implemented. In his words, the document stipulates “a switch to the advance system of gas payments if the debt has not been repaid”.

“We could have switched to the advance payment system earlier, but we did not do that because we understood the difficult economic situation in Ukraine,” Medvedev said.

However, Putin asked Gazprom to refrain from demanding prepayment for gas from Ukraine until more consultations have been held.

“I would ask the government and Gazporm to refrain from using this resource stemming from the contract in whatever form,” Putin said. “Of course, if our partners are prepared to have these consultations. If not, then it is out of the question.”

In that case, Putin said, Russia would be acting strictly in compliance with the contract.

“I will give thought to consultations with our partners. I am asking the Foreign Ministry to arrange for this work,” Putin said.

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