MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) – The venue and date of upcoming trilateral talks among Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on the security of natural gas supplies have yet to be agreed upon, a spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Thursday.
“We still haven’t decided on the place and time of the trilateral meeting,” Sabine Berger said. “But we welcome Russia’s response and readiness to meet.”
Oettinger invited the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministries to participate in the talks, originally proposed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter to European leaders. The Russian Energy Ministry has suggested holding the discussions on April 28 in Moscow.
Ukraine currently owes Russian energy giant Gazprom $2.2 billion. Amid the current political standoff between Kiev and Moscow, Gazprom has cancelled two major gas discounts for Ukraine, raising the price of gas for the country by 70 percent. The payments for March deliveries to Ukraine have still not been received.
Over the past five years, Russia has supplied Ukraine with nearly 150 billion cubic meters of gas, while Ukraine has systematically delayed payments for the imports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Ukraine owes Russia $17 billion in gas discounts, with another $18.4 billion incurred as a minimal take-or-pay fine.