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Ukraine’s gas debt grows to $3 billion — Russian President

May 15, 2014, 17:14 UTC+3

Russia's President Vladimir Putin stated that the decision to demand pre-payment for gas from Ukraine was a forced one, and Moscow is prepared for a dialogue to normalize the situation

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MOSCOW, May 15./ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s debt has grown to $3.508 billion from $2.237 billion over a month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. 

The decision to demand pre-payment for gas from Ukraine was a forced one, and Moscow is prepared for a dialogue to normalize the situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin added.

“I would like to point out once again. This (transition to the pre-payment system) is a forced one,” he said in a message distributed by the Kremlin’s press-service.

“Russia remains open to further consultations and joint actions with European countries for the sake of normalizing the situation,” Putin said.

“We hope for a more active dialogue on the part of the European Commission designed to work out specific just decisions to stabilize the Ukrainian economy,” Putin emphasized.

“Very sadly, we have to state that we did not receive from our (Western) partners any detailed proposals on how to stabilize the performance of the Ukrainian customer on its contract obligations and to ensure reliable transits,” Putin said.

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak earlier stated that Russia does not see that Ukraine has any possibilities to pay for natural gas supplies even if discount provided due to the economically complicated situation in the country. 

He added that the Russian side does not have any guarantees that Ukraine will be able to pay for gas supplies with any discount.

“We do not have guarantees that even if a price of $100 is set, these bills will be paid by the Ukrainian side. What we see today is complete insolvency,” the minister noted.


Ukraine’s gas debt

Since the beginning of May, Ukraine’s Naftogaz has acquired 1.350 billion cu. m of Russian gas. In April, Ukraine has imported 2.7 billion cu. m, according to Gasprom.

To date, the outstanding debt of Naftogaz amounts to $3.508 billion, therefore “no one has a doubt that this is a substantial and non-biased reason for applying the relevant paragraph of the contract on prepayment,” Kupriyanov said May 13.

“If you buy natural gas, you should pay for it. All gas companies have specific payment conditions,” said Gertjan Lankhorst, head of International Gas Union, commenting on the issue of Nagtogaz’s nonpayment for Russian gas, its debt and the switch to prepayment mode. He believes that the switch to prepayment mode “may be more difficult for the client in terms of payments”. “If as a result of that, consumers will not receive gas, this would surely affect Ukraine, and, I’m afraid, Europe as well,” Lankhorst said.

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