MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday Gazprom proposed Ukraine to return to the same gas payment scheme that was used during the rule of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
"Gazprom proposed its Ukrainian partners the same conditions that the government of Yanukovych had — a $100 discount from the contract price, the final price of $385 of per 1,000 cubic meters," he said, adding that the proposed gas price was lower than for some of Ukraine’s neighbors, including Poland.
He called the new Ukrainian government’s demands for a gas discount unjustified and ungrounded. He also said that by putting forward such demands, Kiev was deliberately causing a stalemate in the negotiations.
On Wednesday, the Russian president ordered the government to prepare a gas discount for Ukraine on a permanent basis. He said that Russia will have to take its gas relations with Ukraine "to an absolutely different stage" if Ukraine refuses to accept the proposed terms.
"I think that our proposals mean more than partnership and are intended to support the Ukrainian economy during a difficult period, to help," Putin told members of the Russian government.
"If our proposals are rejected, then we will have to take our relations to an absolutely different stage. This is not our choice, we don’t want it. [But] if so, we will have to live in another dimension," he added.
Kiev owes $1.45 billion in gas arrears to Russia. Russia’s gas giant Gazprom had previously given Ukraine a deadline of June 10 to resolve its problems with payment for the Russian gas that had already been delivered, warning it was determined to switch to an advance payment system, ultimately supplying exactly those volumes of gas to Ukraine the country has paid for.
Early on Wednesday, however, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said he decided to delay switching Ukraine to a prepayment scheme for gas deliveries until June 16.
"The Russian side made a move towards continuing talks which have been very intense lately. The Russian side has decided to postpone the switch to prepayment until 10:00 a.m. on Monday [June 16]," Miller said following a meeting of representatives of Russia and the EU.