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Russia is ready to provide more gas to Serbia if needed — ambassador

Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, when asked whether Russia understands Serbia's position, given the pressure around the imposition of sanctions on Russia and the fact that the European Parliament has conditioned sanctions on the country's membership in the EU and access to European funds, said that Russia treats Serbia’s circumstances with understanding

BELGRADE, November 24. /TASS/. Russia is open to talks iа Serbia needs more gas during the winter, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said in an interview to the Tanjug news service on Thursday.

"The original price, which refers to the previous base quantities, remains the lowest that can now be determined in Europe. That’s a very important point, and my message is that whenever we talk about energy and gas, we don’t forget that we have a basic contract with a very low and favorable price," the diplomat said.

He said Gazprom is ready for talks if there’s a need for more Russian natural gas.

Botsan-Kharchenko, when asked whether Russia understands Serbia's position, given the pressure around the imposition of sanctions on Russia and the fact that the European Parliament has conditioned sanctions on the country's membership in the EU and access to European funds, said that Russia treats Serbia’s circumstances with understanding. "As for the opinions and statements of the European Parliament, I don't think it's crucial. What the European Parliament is proposing has no legal basis or content. It’s some intentions, the wishes of some people who are not very fond of Serbia," the ambassador said.

Dusan Bajatovic, the chief executive officer of Serbia’s gas provider, Srbijagas, said on local television on Thursday that Russian gas supplies are key to Europe’s gas equation and the only question is whether to buy Russian gas directly or via intermediaries. Serbia buys gas from Russia for $420 per 1,000 cubic meters while the market price is 1,300-1,400 dollars.

Earlier, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the upcoming winter in Europe would be "cold" and the next one would be "polar" and didn’t rule out that gas prices at commodity exchanges would soar to $6,000 per 1,000 cubic meters (They fell below $1,000 dollars at the end of October and now they are hovering at about $1,400). He said that only timely purchases of Russian gas saved Serbia from a disaster and power outages.

On May 29, the Serbian leader said he had agreed on the key points of the gas contract during phone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said the contract will last three years and the gas price will be set according to the oil formula, meaning $310 to $408 per 1,000 cubic meters. Vucic said that was the best price in Europe.