MOSCOW, April 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia will postpone transition to a system of gas prepayments for Ukraine for one month, but if the bills remain unpaid, it will have to demand money in advance, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a live Q&A session with the nation on Thursday.
“If we see no payments for another month, then, under the contract, we shall shift to prepayments,” he said, adding that Ukraine’s debt was snowballing. “This means that Ukraine will be obliged to pay us for one month in advance, and we shall provide precisely the amount of gas that has been paid for,” Putin explained.“It is a very complex way of settlements. It can cause disruptions in the transit of our gas to European consumers,” Putin said. “For that reason we have been so cooperative, patient and ready to negotiate,” he added. “We shall be able to do that today, but, as I said, we shall wait.”
“We shall wait for another month,” Putin said. “We do not insist on immediate payments. We understand Ukraine’s problems, but we are asking you to join us in this work and to take part in rescuing Ukrainian economy,” the head of state said.
He added that Russia was ready to wait one more month for Ukraine to settle gas debt and asked western states to join the settlement process.