MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov asked the European Union Tuesday to influence Ukraine to ensure full and uninterrupted gas transit from Russia to EU countries.
Fradkov sent a message Tuesday to Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel whose country is holding presidency in the European Union.
"We are requesting to influence Ukraine to return to legal norms and ensure the uninterrupted transit of natural gas across its territory to the countries of the European Union in compliance with its international obligations," the message said.
Fradkov also said Ukraine would create a real threat of reduced gas deliveries to European consumers, if it continued to siphon off Russian transit gas.
The message said Russia firmly intended to switch to market relations with Ukraine based on European gas and gas transit prices.
"Russia has firm intentions to switch to the principles of a market economy and mutual advantage in its relations with Ukraine on the basis of European gas and gas transit prices. We believe that this approach fully corresponds to EU measures to eliminate cross subsidizing and ensure equal and transparent terms for fair competition," the message said.
Fradkov said Russia had offered Ukraine compromise options to settle the gas issue. Particularly, it offered Ukraine a commercial loan to facilitate the transition to new forms of mutual settlements for gas supplies and gas transit across Ukraine but the Ukrainian side rejected it.
As a result, the gas companies of Russia and Ukraine failed to sign contracts on the delivery of natural gas to Ukraine and natural gas transit across Ukraine to European consumers. Despite that, Russia was fulfilling its obligations as a natural gas supplier, the message said.
Fradkov confirmed Russia's readiness to strictly fulfil all contracts with European partners on gas deliveries.
"In this situation, we deem it necessary to confirm Russia's readiness to strictly fulfil all its contracts with European partners on Russian natural gas supplies in the interests of strengthening Europe's energy security," the message said.