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Gas talks in Berlin coincide with deadline for Ukraine’s debt repayment for Russian gas

May 30, 2014, 14:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The deadline was set at the latest tripartite meeting in Berlin on May 26 when a compromise had been reached to settle Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas
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© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Grabar

MOSCOW, May 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Three-party gas talks within the Russia-Ukraine-EU format have coincided with the deadline for repayment by Ukraine’s Naftogaz of $2 billion of debt for the supplied Russian gas.

The deadline was set at the latest tripartite meeting in Berlin on May 26 when a compromise had been reached to settle Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas. The deadline expired on Friday, May 30.

From June 1 Ukraine’s debt will exceed $5 billion.

It is supposed that before the end of the week Naftogaz will transfer $2 billion to Russia’s Gazprom, thereby partially repaying the debt for the already supplied gas and, not later than on June 7, remit another $500 million as an advance payment for June deliveries.

Earlier Gazprom had insisted Naftogaz pay off the debt on the amount of almost $2.3 billion.

If Ukraine violates the payment scheme, approved at the latest Berlin meeting, Gazprom will stop gas supplies to Ukraine from June 3.

In case of an unsanctioned off-take of gas by Ukraine, Russia intends to introduce “an early warning” mechanism for creating a group of specialists who will monitor and record the amounts of gas supplies to Ukraine.

Naftogaz of Ukraine has money to pay debts (about $2 billion) after the company augmented its capital by issuing additional shares with the state ownership of 100% of shares preserved.

At the Berlin talks, Russia will be represented by Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Ukraine’s delegation will be led by acting Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan. European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger will represent the EU.

Russia believes that discounts to Ukraine can be discussed. However, Gazprom says it does not intend to revise the 2009 contract.

Ukraine says it will pay back debts for Russian gas within 10 days if Gazprom agreed to set the price at $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters.

On April 30 Ukraine’s debt reached $3.5 billion.

On April 1, Gazprom cancelled two discounts and raised the price for Ukraine to $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters.

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