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BRUSSELS, March 3. /TASS/. Shrinking volumes of natural gas consumption will enable Ukraine to do away without Russian gas next winter, Ukrainian Energy and Coalmines minister Vladimir Demchishin said on Monday upon completion of trilateral talks on the deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine and its transits to Europe via the Ukrainian territory.
"The continuing decrease of natural gas consumption in Ukraine will help us to get ready for doing away without Russian gas next winter," he said.
"Consumption of gas in Ukraine has fallen by 15% to 20% over the past several months owing to changes in the energy resource pricing formats and the increase of energy efficiency of the economy at large," Demchishin said.
He claimed that Ukraine could do perfectly well with only 95 million cubic meters a month.
"Own production of 55 million cubic meters a month that we have now plus the 40 million cubic meters we can get by way of reserve-flow supplies (from eastern Europe) is quite enough for us to balance out consumption of as during summertime as a minimum," Demchishin said.
"Ukraine doesn’t refuse to purchase natural gas from Russia but its purchases are substantially costlier, and then take the situation where it may be supplied or may be withheld,"
he said shrugging his shoulders.