BRUGES, April 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia, the European Commission and Ukraine are set to hold talks on problems over gas supplies to Ukraine, Russia's Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told an international conference on EU energy policy.
“It would not be quite honest and wise to expect that problems Ukraine is facing could be settled through efforts of Russia or the Russian Gazprom company,” he said. Ukraine’s gas debt “has already exceeded $2.2 billion. Russia has once again postponed switching to advance payments for gas, which is envisaged in the contract between Gazprom and (Ukraine’s state energy company) Naftogaz,” Chizhov added.
"We expect that consultations between Russia, the European Commission and Ukraine will take place shortly to produce a solution to this complex and critical situation,” he said.
Consultations were due on Thursday in Bratislava, Slovakia, where energy agency heads of the EU, Ukraine and Slovakia were to meet on reverse gas supplies.
Chizhov told ITAR-TASS, however, that the European Commission was not ready for consultations with Russia's participation. He said EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger had sent a letter to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, signaling European Commission's intention to organize such a meeting but “specifying neither the timeframe nor the venue”.