MOSCOW, June 4 (RIA Novosti) — Russian energy giant Gazprom said Wednesday it had extended the deadline for settling the gas dispute with Ukraine until June 10 on a request from Kiev.
The deadline was extended because Ukraine will have a national holiday on June 9, the company said in a statement. The country celebrates Orthodox Pentecost on that day.
The statement came shortly after Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with Andriy Kobolev, the CEO of the Ukrainian state-run oil and gas company Naftogaz, in Berlin.
The previous deadline for Ukraine to pay off its of $2.2 billion debt to Gazprom was set for June 9. The amount covers overdue bills from November to April at the Ukraine’s preferred price of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters.
The gas price for Ukraine surged from $268.5 to $485.50 in April after Russia annulled two discounts granted previously to the country. Kiev keeps rejecting the new price saying it was ready to clear its debt if Moscow agreed to sell gas at the old price, and has so far paid Gazprom $786.4 billion, which Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said was the only undisputed part of the debt.
The European Union’s Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger put Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia at $4 billion, up from the previous figure of $3.5.
By the end of the week, the amount may reach $5.2 billion should Naftogzaz not pay on time.