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Putin expects more active EU role in solving Ukraine gas debt problem

May 15, 2014, 18:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“We have not received any specific proposals from our partners on stabilizing the situation with the fulfillment of obligations by Ukraine and ensuring reliable gas transit,” Russian president says

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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metsel

MOSCOW, May 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is disappointed by the absence of EU specific proposals on solving the Ukraine gas debt problem and expects European countries to play a more active role in this process, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

In a special address to European leaders, Putin said that Russia’s decision to demand advance payments for natural gas deliveries to Ukraine was a forced measure.

“In early April, we came up with a proposal to hold immediate consultations with the aim of elaborating coordinated actions to stabilize the Ukrainian economy and ensure stable Russian gas deliveries and transit in compliance with contract terms,” Putin said in his letter.

Since then, Russia has held consultations with some non-EU countries in Moscow, at which “our partners fully shared our concerns over Ukraine’s payments for gas delivered by Russia and the risks of insufficient amounts of gas pumped into Ukraine’s underground storage facilities (to ensure uninterrupted gas transit to Europe),” Putin said.

“As for EU member countries, only one meeting was held In Warsaw during this period with a delegation led by EU Energy Commissioner (Gunther) Oettinger with the participation of Ukrainian representative (Energy Minister Yuriy) Prodan,” Putin said.

“Unfortunately, we have to state that we have not received any specific proposals from our partners on stabilizing the situation with the fulfillment of contractual obligations by the Ukrainian buyer and ensuring reliable gas transit,” Putin said.

The Russian president said that “over this time the situation with the payment for Russian gas had only deteriorated” as Gazprom had not received any payment for gas delivered to Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s overall debt has grown from $2.237 billion to $3.508 billion,” Putin said. “The debt grew despite the fact that the Ukrainian side had received the first $3.2 billion loan tranche from the IMF,” Putin said.

“In this situation, the Russian side issued a bill for gas prepayment from June 1 in strict compliance with the contract and will make gas deliveries in amounts prepaid by the Ukrainian side,” Putin said.

“I would like to emphasize once again that this is a forced decision. The Russian Federation remains open for the continuation of consultations and for joint actions with European countries for normalizing the situation,” Putin wrote in his letter.

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