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NOVO-OGARYOVO, February 25. /TASS/. Russia expects Ukrainian national energy company Naftogaz to make advance payments for natural gas deliveries in March on time, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.
At present, all the key issues of Russian natural gas supplies are being discussed at telephone talks with the participation of European Commission Vice-President for Energy Maros Sefcovic and Ukrainian Energy and Coal Minister Vladimir Demchishin, the Russian energy minister said.
Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said on Tuesday Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine might be halted completely in two days due to the absence of Kiev’s advance payments.
Kiev has failed to pay for the supply of 114 million cubic meters of Russian natural gas, Miller said, adding this failure was creating serious risks for Russia’s gas transit to Europe via Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Naftogaz said on February 19 the company had filed an application for the supply of 114 million cubic meters of natural gas and made an advance payment for 454 million cubic meters while its prepaid balance as of February 23 totaled 287 million cubic meters while Gazprom supplied only 47 million cubic meters of gas, according to Naftogaz.
Naftogaz and Gazprom signed an agreement with the EU’s mediation in late October on the so-called winter package of gas supplies to the ex-Soviet republic, defining the price of Russian natural gas and planned gas purchase volumes, as well as the schedule of Kiev’s debt repayment for Gazprom’s previous gas supplies.
Ukraine’s debt for natural gas supplied by Gazprom equals $2.44 billion. Both Gazprom and Naftogaz filed mutual claims to the Stockholm Arbitration Court last year on the gas price and debt amounts.
The contractual price of Russia’s natural gas for Ukraine will equal $329 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2015.
The European Commission has issued no confirmation for the trilateral gas talks in Brussels on February 26-27, a EU official told TASS on Wednesday.
"For the moment we cannot confirm [the meeting]. We have been in close contact with both sides", the official said referring to the possibility of such a meeting in the near future.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that it was prepared to hold gas talks with Moscow and Kiev any moment.
Ukraine's Naftogaz CEO Andrey Kobolev said ealier that Russia-EU-Ukraine gas talks on gas would take place in Brussels on February, 26-27.