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Novak: Russia does not see EC willingness to help find source of financing for Kiev’s debt

October 22, 2014, 3:23 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
Russia believes the European Commission should ensure borrowings to settle the debt of Ukraine’s Naftogaz
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BRUSSELS, October 22. /TASS/. Russia does not see European Commission’s willingness to help find a source of financing for Ukraine’s [national energy company] Naftogaz to settle Ukraine's gas debt, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Rossiya 24 television.

“We have offered our European colleagues to look into possibilities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions. Resources do exist, but we don’t see any willingness to work so far,” the minister said.

“Taking part in negotiations on our part are our colleagues, the Ministry for Economic Development, the Finance Ministry, that clearly understand these issues,” he said. “Only representatives from the EU Energy Commission participate on the part of the European Commission,” Novak added. He said possibilities of the European Commission were not being used in full as to search for financial resources.

Tass reported earlier that in order to see gas supplies from Russia restarted, Ukraine must pay off its gas debt. Russia believes the European Commission should ensure borrowings to settle the debt of Ukraine’s Naftogaz.

A Tuesday three-party gas meeting on Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia, involving Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, once again ended without the expected result: no sources of financing for repayment of Kiev’s debt were found. A next meeting is scheduled for October 29.

Ukraine’s failure to repay its debt for already supplied gas is the key obstacle to a temporary gas deal with the Russian Federation, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said after three-party talks, involving Russia’s Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, his Ukrainian counterpart Yuri Prodan and Guenther Oettinger.

Alexander Novak said the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, has not yet determined sources of financing for repayment of Kiev’s debt.

“We believe possible sources include guarantees of first-class European banks, bridge loans, funds of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development or the European Commission,” the minister said after talks. The first tranche from the International Monetary Fund will be received by Ukraine only in 2015.

Gazprom does not consider the involvement of European companies as intermediaries in deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine, the CEO of Russia’s gas giant, Alexei Miller, told Rossiya 24 television.

He said the option in which some European company would buy gas on the border between Russia and Ukraine was not looked into.

“All gas that is supplied to Europe is supplied under contracts where the transfer points are outside Ukraine. Accordingly, as for the needs of Ukraine itself, we have a contract in force and we work and will keep working within its framework,” he said.

The European Union offers that a certain European company could become an intermediary in supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine. If Naftogaz fails to pay, some company could buy Russian gas and then resell it, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Tuesday.

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