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SOCHI, October 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he expected Ukraine’s gas problem to be finally resolved next week.
“I very much hope that this problem will be resolved shortly. I hope it will be finally resolved next week,” Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai discussion club in Sochi.
The Russian president said, however, that if Russia and Ukraine failed to agree, a threat would emerge again that Kiev might siphon off Russian natural gas from Russia’s export pipeline. “And then, of course, a crisis is possible, which is very undesirable for us,” Putin said.
Russia will never be a cause for any crisis, Putin said. “We’ll fulfill all the terms of deliveries accurately and on time, in compliance with all contractual obligations,” the Russian president said.
Russia works under long-term contracts, which guarantee European consumers that specific gas volumes will be supplied within specific periods at specific prices, Putin said. Russia has never violated its obligations, he said.
Ukraine has turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the European Commission, asking to help the country in paying for the supplies of the Russian natural gas, Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak said on Friday.
“Ukraine has appealed to all our partners asking to assist in payments for the volumes of Russian gas,” Shlapak said, adding that the partners at the issue were the IMF, the World Bank and the European Commission.
According to the Ukrainian government, the European Union will discuss next week with Ukraine the possibility of issuing a loan to Kiev for repayments for the Russian natural gas supplies.
Ukraine annually consumes about 40-45 billion cu m of natural gas, with more than half of this amount earlier purchased from the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom.
Russia and Ukraine continue gas talks with the EU’s mediation to resolve the gas dispute between the two countries and ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to Europe in winter.
Tuesday’s three-party gas meeting once again ended without the expected result as no sources of financing for the repayment of Kiev’s debt were found. The 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 Russia, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said after the three-party talks.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said he is confident that “if talks with Russia fail, gas can be replaced with additional reverse-flow supplies and heating oil.” “We can increase reverse supplies. We’re working with European partners about the technical possibility of gas supplies from the EU,” the Ukrainian premier said.