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Kiev may pay more than $2 billion of debt for Russian gas — minister

May 27, 2014, 10:44 UTC+3 BERLIN

Novak reiterated that Russia is ready to continue negotiations on the gas price for Ukraine as soon as the country fully repays its debt

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© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Grabar

BERLIN, May 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine may repay at least $2.5 billion of its $3.5 billion debt for Gazprom gas supplies, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said late Monday following the second round of the trilateral talks between Moscow, Kiev and the EU.

“The total payment may amount to $2.5 billion,” Novak said, adding that this sum will cover part of a bill for gas supplied from November 2013 till April, and part of a bill for May supplies.

Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz may pay $2 billion to Gazprom on Thursday and may transfer the second, $500 million tranche on June 7, EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger said. Officials of Russia and Ukraine and representatives of the companies are to consider the results of the negotiations and agree until the end of Wednesday, Oettinger said.

Ukraine and Naftogaz must decide where they will take funds to execute the payment, Oettinger said, adding that the EU is providing the country with an opportunity to co-finance the repayment with its financial aid, but Kiev is yet to agree whether to transfer the money for this purpose or not.

Ukraine’s Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan declined to say whether the $2 billion tranche will be transferred on Thursday. “We have received a proposal from the European Commission to give our answer by the end of Wednesday,” he said.

Prodan said that the country is ready to pay for gas supplies, but wants the price to be fair and market. “Ukraine is ready to fully repay its debt and conduct settlements with the price close to the market’s one. I think we will consider the proposals that have been made today,” he said.

“I believe that no specific agreements have been reached today, but there is an opportunity that such consultations will be continued,” Prodan also said.

Novak reiterated that Russia is ready to continue negotiations on the gas price for Ukraine as soon as the country fully repays its debt. “We are ready to hold further talks on the price of gas supplied to Ukraine, and hope that the Ukrainian side will discuss our proposals with its authorities,” he said.

Oettinger said that the sides have one goal to ensure gas supplies to the EU markets from June 1 and prevent their suspension.

Novak also pointed out that the E.U. has supported Russia’s position that Kiev must repay its debt. “The EU represented by Gunther Oettinger has supported us. This is a very positive moment of the conducted talks,” he said.

Oettinger also said that Russia and Ukraine may agree on a mutually acceptable price for gas on Friday if the first tranche is transferred on Thursday.

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