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Naftogaz Ready to Discuss Intermediary for Ukraine-Russia Gas Payments

© RIA NovostiNaftogaz company office in Kiev
Naftogaz company office in Kiev - Sputnik International
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Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev claims he is ready to consider using an intermediary in the Russia-Ukraine gas settlement process, but warned that involving a third party could complicate the issue.

MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev claims he is ready to consider using an intermediary in the Russia-Ukraine gas settlement process, but warned that involving a third party could complicate the issue.

“There are always a lot of bizarre options when these conflicts emerge. Recently I’ve heard we should use an intermediary not only for talks, but for payments, as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is worsening. This option deserves consideration, and we are ready to discuss it,” Kobolev told the Vedomosti newspaper Thursday.

“The suggestion of involving Europe as an intermediary has been raised. But I must say, Naftogaz does not particularly welcome this, since when a third party is involved in relations between two, it’s going to pursue its own interests, which will have to be taken into account,” Kobolyev noted.

“Say a European company buys gas from Gazprom and sells it to Ukraine. It could possibly be a group of 2-3 European gas corporations, who offer a much lower price to Germany than Russia offers to Ukraine. Of course, they will do it for their own profit. Do you expect them to do this at a loss? It’s beyond any doubt that Gazprom and Naftogaz could reach a better agreement together,” the Ukrainian energy company’s CEO said.

According to the CEO, nothing is decided yet. “We realize the situation is unsustainable and unacceptable for both Ukraine and Russia. Therefore, the talks must be resumed as soon as possible. When Russia is ready, we will be ready, too,” Kobolev outlined.

“We expect Gazprom to offer us concessions. Meaning, we would like it not to stick to the $385 per cubic meter price,” Kobolev added, without suggesting any possible changes to Ukraine’s stance on the talks.

Ukraine is a transit country for and consumer of Russian gas. In 2013, the country’s gas debt to Moscow began building and is now about $5.3 billion, according to Gazprom estimates. The European Commission and Gazprom anticipate problems in winter, when Kiev is expected to run out of its own gas reserves.

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