MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Gazprom does not see any “positive dynamics” in Ukraine paying off its $1.3 billion gas debt to Russia, Gazprom deputy head Andrei Kruglov said Thursday, the Prime news agency reported.
The heads of Russian natural gas export monopoly Gazprom and Ukrainian national oil and gas company Naftogaz met on Thursday to discuss collaboration in many spheres, including regarding Ukraine’s debt as well as unhindered transportation of Russian gas to Europe during the forthcoming winter.
Ukraine halted Russian gas imports earlier this month citing high gas prices, just as Gazprom said Ukraine had failed to pay an outstanding gas bill.
Political analysts have linked disputes between the two countries over gas and other issues to Russia’s ongoing efforts to dissuade Ukraine from signing a trade deal with the European Union.
Pavel Oderov, chief of Gazprom’s foreign economic activity department, said Thursday that Ukraine probably currently uses gas from its underground gas storage facilities, which, he said, would have a negative effect on the future transit to Europe.
Oderov said that in order to ensure unhindered transit via Ukraine, the country’s underground storage facilities should be used [for transit gas].
Regarding Kiev’s gas debt, Oderov said a postponement is being considered.
Kiev and Moscow have a long history of disputes over natural gas supplies. Differences over gas prices in the winters of 2006 and 2009 led to Moscow temporarily halting deliveries to Ukraine and some European countries.