BRUSSELS, October 21. /TASS/. Russia and Ukraine with the mediation of the European Union launched talks in the trilateral format in Brussels on conclusion of an interim agreement on Russian natural gas supplies, Olga Golant, a spokeswoman for the Russian energy minister, said on Tuesday.
Russia and Ukraine met for gas talks on Tuesday to discuss the issue of Ukraine’s gas debt repayment and natural gas supplies to Europe in winter.
The EU is seeking guarantees for stable gas supplies in winter. Otherwise, Ukraine may siphon off Russia’s Europe-bound natural gas. Russia also wants to ensure stable gas supplies to European consumers and recover a $5.3 billion debt from Ukraine, which acknowledges only a debt of $3.1 billion.
Under an interim agreement, Ukraine should repay Gazprom $2 billion in October and at least another $1.1 billion by the end of the year. In this case, Gazprom will supply 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Ukraine under the “take or pay” condition and offer an option for another 5 billion cu m.
The price of natural gas supplies to Ukraine for six months under an interim deal will equal $385 per 1,000 cu m, considering Russia’s $100 discount. Russia is against Ukraine’s proposal to include the discount into the existing contract instead of compensation based on a customs duty discount, which is determined by the Russian government’s decision.