MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) - The authorities in Kiev have created artificially the gas crisis that essentially affects the Ukrainian economy, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.
“Super beneficial conditions were suggested to them [authorities in Kiev], even when compared with those [the conditions] during the mandate of the former president. However, they did not accept those conditions and they have created an artificial gas crisis. This is deplorable and reeks of blackmail,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev voiced his support Monday for Russian energy giant Gazprom’s plans to sue Ukrainian state oil and gas company Naftogaz in the international court.
“This is right, we should settle [the dispute] in a court if our colleagues are deaf to sensible reaons. Well, we will have to use legal reasons, given that all evidence in this dispute is undoubtedly in favor of Gazprom, which has been de-facto giving gas for free to the Ukrainian side,” the Russian prime minister said.
Medvedev added that Russia was ready to continue the dialogue with Ukraine over the gas issue upon the payment of the arrears.
“I think that we are ready to continue the negotiations, but certainly upon the payment of all the arrears,” Medvedev said.
Gazprom implemented a prepayment plan for the delivery of Russian fuel to Ukraine’s Naftogaz at 10:00 a.m. local time (06:00 a.m. GMT) on Monday after putting it off several times this month. The company's statement said Naftogaz' arrears for Russian gas deliveries stood at $4.458 billion.
The gas price for Ukraine surged from $268.5 to $485.50 per 1,000 cubic meters in April after Russia canceled two discounts granted previously to the country.