MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Russian and Ukrainian further cooperation in the natural gas sector depends on the way Kiev will be observing the schedule of payments, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
In his article titled “Russia and Ukraine: Life by New Rules” published by Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily on Monday, Medvedev wrote that the issue of Russian gas transit via Ukraine was not completely settled and the European Union was aware that it could be a threat.
“The problem of the gas transit across Ukraine, and we should admit that the problem emerged long ago, did not disappear from the agenda and today the gas issue settlement is temporary,” Medvedev said.
Under accords reached between Moscow and Kiev, the price of Russian natural gas for Ukraine equals $378 per 1,000 cubic meters in the fourth quarter of 2014. Therefore, Naftogaz of Ukraine made a prepayment for 1 billion cubic meters of gas.
Based on a price discount granted by Gazprom at gas talks between Moscow and Kiev with the EU’s mediation in Brussels on November 30, the price of Russian natural gas supplies equals $378 per 1,000 cubic meters in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $365 in the first quarter of 2015.
Gazprom halted natural gas supplies to Ukraine on June 16 after Ukraine’s failure to make prepayment for June deliveries.
“The so-called ‘winter package’ of agreements was reached only owing to cooperation between representatives of Russia and the EU,” Medvedev said. “The European Union felt in reality the threat to the transit of the Russian gas from Ukraine and took steps, which enabled to conclude at least a temporary agreement”.
“Conditions for the further development are a subject of negotiations and the punctual observance of schedule of payments by Kiev,” the premier said.
In his article Medvedev told a detailed story of Russian and Ukrainian gas cooperation having emphasized “ultimately privileged conditions in the energy sphere,” which Moscow extended to Kiev for many years.
According to him, gas prices for Kiev had been always low, while the volume of the gas supplies had been substantial.
“As a matter of fact, our country had been for decades subsidizing the Ukrainian economy,” the premier said.
At the same time, Ukraine was siphoning off gas as a form of payment for the transit to the European Union and by doing that was amassing its debt to the Russian energy giant Gazprom.
“When we [Russia] were restricting the volumes of gas supplies, Ukraine would be siphoning off or, if to be more precise, stealing the gas intended for European consumers,” Medvedev said.
The prime minister said that in reply to Russian proposals to agree on civilized principles of cooperation “Kiev behaved very unconstructively and demanded special privileges.”
Such behavior forced Gazprom to turn to the system of advanced payments, which were stipulated by the contract between Moscow and Kiev, the prime minister said.