Ukrainian Naftogaz subsidiary Ukrtransgas said it is ready to increase Russian gas transit to Europe if the gas dispute between Russia and Belarus is not resolved, UNIAN Ukrainian information agency said.
Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second quarter, and has been paying $150 since January 1 instead. Earlier on Monday Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Gazprom had started cutting gas supplies to Belarus over the debt. The restriction will gradually rise from 15 to 85 percent of daily supply.
"The Ukrainian gas transportation system is ready to take additional volumes of Russian gas," the company's statement said.
Ukrtransgas said it had already received a request from Gazprom Export to create alternative methods for gas transit.
Belarus has now admitted its debts but negotiations are still underway concerning their repayment.
Belarusian Energy Ministry spokeswoman Lyudmila Zenkovich said on Monday Belarus would continue to provide uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to Europe, despite the fact that it has begun receiving a 15% gas cut from Russia.
Belarusian First Deputy Energy Minister Eduard Tovpinets on Friday evening announced that Gazprom owed some $200 million to Belarus for gas transit fees to Europe, the same amount that Gazprom said Belarus owed for gas deliveries.
Zenkovich said Belarus could top up the gas it receives with fuel oil if supplies are insufficient.
A spokeswoman for the Lithuanian gas supplier Lietuvos dujos company said there has been no interruption in Russian gas supplies to Lithuania, which transit Belarus.
KIEV, June 21 (RIA Novosti)