KIEV: Ukraine does not acknowledge the US$ 3.5-billion debt for Russian gas deliveries earlier announced by Russian energy giant Gazprom, acting Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said on Thursday.
“We cannot accept the figure mentioned by Gazprom because Gazprom includes in this total some calculations that are based on an economically unsound price offered to Ukraine, about US$ 500 per 1,000 cubic meters,” Prodan told reporters in Kiev.
Gazprom said Wednesday that it has not received payments for deliveries of Russian natural gas to Ukraine in April, which brings Kiev’s gas debt to a total of US$ 3.5 billion.
When asked about whether Ukraine was ready to switch to the advance payment system for its gas supplies to Russia, Prodan replied that his country was unable to do that.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual question-and-answer session on April 19 that Moscow was ready to tolerate Ukraine’s non-payment for Russian gas for another month, but then will switch to advance payments.
Ukraine’s state-run gas company Naftogaz was expected to transfer payments for April deliveries by May 7.
Ukraine refuses to recognize the new gas price of US$ 485.50 per thousand cubic meters, although the sum is fully in line with the contract that the two states signed in 2009.
Kiev wants to buy Russian gas at the old price of US$ 268.50 per thousand cubic meters, which was in place before Russia cancelled two major discounts starting April 1.
In December, Russia offered Ukraine a 25 percent discount from the original price of around US$ 400. The deal was cancelled because of Kiev’s overdue gas bills.
Another discount of US$ 100 per thousand cubic meters of gas was granted by Russia in return for the right to use the Sevastopol port in Crimea to host the Black Sea Fleet. It was annulled shortly after Crimea became a part of Russia in March. PNA