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MOSCOW, January 29. /ITAR-TASS World Service/. President Vladimir Putin said at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday Russia would not reconsider agreements with Ukraine either on gas or on a 15 billion dollar loan it had promised. Delegates to the summit discussed complexities with the EU Third Energy Package, visa-free rules and creation of a free trade zone.
EU leaders dubbed the Russia-EU summit in Brussels as “the summit of challenges,” the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. Vladimir Putin was met at the EU headquarters with this very mood. The situation in Ukraine was to blame. The EU believes Moscow exerts pressure on some countries of Eastern Partnership, including Ukraine. Putin assured that all agreements on investing $15 billion from the Russian Welfare Fund into Ukrainian securities and on lowering a gas price would remain in force.
The Kommersant business daily wrote that in his response to questions whether Russia was ready to remain liable for obligations concerning its loan to Ukraine, Putin said, “Yes, we have already finalized everything. Ukraine’s creditworthiness is essential for us. We want to have guarantees that we will get our money back.” Thus, the loan’s future is in a deep fog, the daily writes.
Vedomosti paid attention to the Russian leader’s statement saying that Ukraine had already asked for deferral on payments for gas supplies, including those it received at a lower price this year. “Ukraine asks us to defer payments. But this is not the worst. The worst is that I have just been told that the Ukrainian side asks us for deferral on payments for this year’s gas it has received at a lower price,” Putin said.
At the summit on Tuesday, Moscow hoped to sign a document simplifying visa rules with countries of the Schengen area, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. However, Brussels demanded additional consultations on an agreement that had been finalized last May as Moscow assured. Russia’s requirement to provide personal data of air passengers from Europe is named as an obstacle on this road. Now the deal can be signed no earlier than the next Russia-EU summit.
At the same time Brussels makes it clear that visa-free rules are a remote prospect, the daily reports. In its latest report the European Commission says to get visa-free regulations Russia has to eliminate problems in human rights, migration control and the fight against corruption. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that the European Union delays this work on purpose, considering politically inexpedient to simplify visa formalities with Russia before it does this with countries of Eastern Partnership, uniting the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The sides slightly touched on difficulties the South Stream gas pipeline might face over the EU Third Energy Package, Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote. Traditionally, a focus was placed on the theme of human rights. The EU and Russia also exchanged opinions on the international agenda, including Syria and Iran’s nuclear problem and adopted a joint statement on the fight against terrorism. They agreed the next summit would take place in Russia’s Black Sea resort, Sochi, ahead of the G8 summit.
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