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Worldwide US trust rating rolling downhill – Russian diplomat

April 04, 2014, 14:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW
United States’ worldwide trust rating is sliding from the stable to negative level as the North American state makes contradictory statements about the natural gas pricing policies in Europe
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MOSCOW, April 04. /ITAR-TASS/. United States’ worldwide trust rating is sliding from the 'stable' to 'negative' level as the North American state makes contradictory statements about the natural gas pricing policies on the European continent, Sergei Ryabkov, a deputy Russian foreign minister, said on Friday.

“How can one, for instance, tootle about the ‘counter- market methods’ with regard to Russia, which offered Ukraine a new price on the natural gas supplies, and simultaneously urge EU member states to invest multibillion funds in the restructuring of the European gas system under a slogan of ‘Slash gas dependence on Russia,’” the official said, adding a question on whether the US has a clear understanding of market methods.

“Various levels of the US administration have been recently making multiple statements on their discontent with Russia,” Ryabkov said. “There is little logic in such statements and even less of common sense.”

“There is also another subject that surprises us,” he said. “After the US introduced personal visa sanctions against some of the Russian officials, we [Russia] replied with mirror sanctions having made part of the list public and another not.”

“As soon as we did that, numerous statements on the ‘illegality of such decision’ poured on us,” Ryabkov said. “It turns out that all decisions made by Washington are legal, but Russian decisions are not.”

“I do not think it is probably worth commenting on such peculiarities in the behavior of our American colleagues. I am sure there will be by far more occasions for such comments in the future,” Ryabkov said.

“However, I would like to say that Washington’s ‘current escapade’ would be noticed and analyzed not only by Moscow alone, but by other world capitals as well,” the diplomat said. “Politicians and diplomats are drawing their conclusions, while the overall US trust rating is definitely changing from the 'stable' to the 'negative'.”

Ukraine until recently heavily relied on natural gas supplies from Russia and it also keeps serving as a transit country for Russia’s gas to a number of European countries.


New natural gas prices for Ukraine

Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday that the price of the Russian natural gas for Ukraine had been set at $485 per 1,000 cubic meters as of April 2014. He also said that with account for gas supplies in March, Ukraine’s debt already exceeded $2.2 billion.

The announcement of the new natural gas pricing policy provoked numerous objections on behalf of Ukraine and the West.

Earlier in the week Miller said Ukraine’s Naftogaz debt stood at $1.7 billion. Proceeding from the gas price of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2014, Naftogaz imported in March some 1.956 billion cubic meters worth about $500 million.

Infographics Russian gas in Europe Russian gas in Europe
One-third of gas consumed in EU comes from Russia. Infographics ITAR-TASS
The price for Russian gas for Ukraine in the second quarter was set at $385.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. Gazprom said earlier that the price rose due to the return to earlier contract agreements, as Ukraine failed to fulfil its commitments under an additional agreement concluded in December 2013, which obliged the country to pay for supplied volumes of Russian gas in time.

On April 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on denunciation of the Kharkiv Accords with Ukraine, which were struck in 2010 and they stipulated that Russia’s lease of naval facilities in Crimea [then part of Ukraine] would be extended by 25 years beyond 2017 - until 2042.

The Kharkiv deals envisioned a discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters on Russian gas for Kiev. Now that the accords have been denounced due to Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation, the discount will no longer be applied, raising the gas price by another $100 to $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters.

From the second quarter, Gazprom will have to pay 10% more for gas transit to European consumers via Ukraine. Gazprom has pledged to fulfil its commitments in full.

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