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European Commission recommends Ukraine to start repaying Russian gas debt

August 30, 2014, 0:05 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
Gazprom says Naftogaz’s debt under the “take or pay” clause has already exceeded $11 billion
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© ITAR-TASS/ EPA /SERGEI KOZLOV

BRUSSELS, August 29,/ITAR-TASS/. The European Commission recommends Ukraine to start delivering payments for the supplies of Russian natural gas, Marlene Holzner, a spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, said on Friday.

She said that in the course of the next weeks the European Commission would work out a schedule for Ukraine’s debt repayments to resume deliveries of the Russian natural gas.

Gazprom says Naftogaz’s debt under the “take or pay” clause has already exceeded $11 billion.

Russian energy giant Gazprom halted gas supplies to Ukraine in June over its unpaid debt and filed a $4.5 billion suit to the Stockholm arbitration court. Later, Kiev reciprocated by sending a suit to the court against Gazprom for making Ukraine overpay $6 billion for gas since 2010, setting too high prices in its contract.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that Gazprom had not received any signal from Naftogaz about the Ukrainian company’s readiness to repay debts for natural gas supplied to Ukraine in previous months. Gazprom says this debt has already topped $5 billion.

Brussels and Kiev have elaborated a joint position that gas prices for Ukraine should be at the level of $320 per 1,000 cubic meters during the summer season until mid-October and $385 per 1,000 cu m during the heating season. Ukraine however, earlier rejected a seasonal scheme proposed by Gazprom.

At a meeting held in Minsk on Tuesday between the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which form the Customs Union, EU officials and the Ukrainian president, Russian Energy Minister Novak said that Russia’s position was unchanged and Ukraine must repay its $5 billion debt to continue cooperation with Moscow.

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