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Luhansk republic says can pay its own gas bills in full if Kiev’s blockade lifted

March 03, 2015, 15:11 UTC+3 MOSCOW

After the economic blockade of the region ends, the LPR will be able to choose with what countries to sign the contracts, the head of the LPR Council of Ministers said

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© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic is ready to pay in full amount and directly for the natural gas supplied to it if Kiev lifts the economic blockade, the prime minister of the LPR said on Tuesday.

"We can provide for ourselves in full amount, we have industry and great potentials in manufacturing, and we can settle accounts with other international companies and also pay for the gas we consume," Gennady Tsypkalov said.

However, the prime minister said this will become possible only after Kiev lifts its economic blockade. He explained that as an unrecognized state, the Luhansk republic cannot enter the foreign market and conclude international deals.

After the economic blockade of the region ends, the LPR will be able to choose with what countries to sign the contracts — either Ukraine, Russia or other states, the head of the LPR Council of Ministers said.

On February 20, after Kiev suspended gas supplies to Donbas citing "critical damage" done to the pipelines as a reason, Russia's Gazprom activated its Prokhorovka and Platovo gas measuring stations to start supplying 12 million cubic meters of natural gas a day to south-east Ukraine as part of its gas contract with Naftogaz.

But the Ukrainian national energy company said it would not pay for these gas deliveries.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday Moscow was prepared to supply natural gas directly to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics only if Ukraine’s Naftogaz filed a notification on refusal to deliver gas there.

In November, President Petro Poroshenko declared an economic blockade on self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine, refusing to pay social benefits to the citizens. The republics’ authorities have claimed that Kiev has been tightening the economic blockade of late.

Under the February 12 Minsk agreements, "modalities" should be defined of a full restoration of social and economic ties, including payments of pensions and other social benefits.

To this aim, Ukraine should restore management over the segment of its banking system in the areas affected by the armed conflict and an international tool could be set up to ease such transactions, the document approved at the Minsk summit says.

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