MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. Russia will not use gas prices as an instrument of pressure on Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller on Wednesday.
"We need to proceed from the fact that our partners should feel certain confidence in our intentions to maintain normal business relations," Putin said.
"And, surely, we have never done this and in order to ensure that they have this confidence we will not do this in the future and will not use our economic ties as some lever in resolving other issues unrelated to the economy," he said.
Putin said Gazprom should strictly perform all provisions of the 2009 contract.
"As regards discounts, they should be used to make the price for Ukraine comparable with regional prices, I mean countries neighboring on Ukraine," he said.
In turn, Miller said the decision on the amount of the natural gas discount for Ukraine for the next three-month period will be made in accordance with quarterly oil price caps.
"We understand trends currently in place on the oil market may change dramatically. Risks remain that downward trends may be stronger. Therefore the decision on the final discount can only be made relatively to ceiling prices that will appear in a quarter," he said.
Otherwise there is a risk that the price of the natural gas supply to Ukraine will be lower than the spot price and much lower than the price level for Ukraine’s neighbors, Miller added.
Putin supported Gazprom's proposal not to bring penalties against Ukraine because of the insufficient gas take.
"I agree, considering the difficult situation in the Ukrainian economy, and we need to meet our partners halfway. Also, it is necessary to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to all partners," Putin said.
Russia earlier extended by three months its winter package of gas supplies to Ukraine from April 1, which excluded the "take or pay" clause from gas settlements between Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz and Gazprom.