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Ukraine’s leader Poroshenko hopes for positive outcome of trilateral gas talks

August 30, 2014, 19:45 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
Following the meeting with Oettinger, Russian Minister Novak said that the date for trilateral talks on the Ukrainian gas issue would be announced early next week
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© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

BRUSSELS, August 30, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Saturday he hoped that trilateral gas talks involving his country, Russia and the European Union on the issue of the Russian gas supplies to Ukraine would end with a positive outcome.

“Ukraine highly evaluates measures undertaken by the European Commission and personally EU Commissioner Oettinger in talks between Ukraine and Russia with the participation of the European Union,” Poroshenko said. “I believe that the talks would end with a positive result.”

EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger visited Moscow on Friday with the aim of discussing the Ukrainian gas issue Russia. The commissioner held talks with Russian Energy Minister Novak and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller in a bid to find a solution to the Russia-Ukraine gas price dispute.

Following the meeting with Oettinger, Russian Minister Novak said that the date for trilateral talks on the Ukrainian gas issue would be announced early next week.

However, Novak once again made it clear before the mooted talks that Russia was ready to resume natural gas supplies to Ukraine, if Kiev repays its $2 billion debt.

The Russian energy minister said this figure included Ukraine’s $1.4 billion debt for Russian natural gas deliveries to the ex-Soviet republic in 2013 and partial repayment of the gas debt accumulated from April.

The Russian energy minister also said Russia was prepared to offer Ukraine a gas price discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters, which would not breach contractual obligations and would not contradict Russia’s position in an international arbitration tribunal as this offer was not a corporate discount.

Russia raised the gas price for Ukraine from $268.5 to $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters from April 2014. Ukraine has said it will not pay for Russian natural gas supplies at such a high price.

After Russia and Ukraine failed to reach a compromise on the gas issue, Naftogaz and Gazprom filed mutual claims to the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal.

The gas price for Ukraine has increased, in particular, by $100 per 1,000 cubic meters since April 1, 2014 after Russia denounced the 2010 Kharkov accords on extending the lease of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s base in Crimea in exchange for a gas price discount. The accords were denounced after the Black Sea peninsula joined Russia in the spring of 2014.

Russia also offered Kiev the second discount as part of an anti-crisis aid package for Ukraine in November 2013 but scrapped it from April 1, 2014 over Ukraine’s failure to repay its debts for Russian natural gas supplies.

Gazprom halted gas supplies to Ukraine in June over its unpaid debt and filed a $4.5 billion suit to the Stockholm arbitration court. Later, Kiev reciprocated by sending a suit to the court against Gazprom for making Ukraine overpay $6 billion for gas since 2010, setting too high prices in its contract.

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