Updated 5:06 p.m. Moscow time
MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia suggested that Ukraine paid over $1.45 billion in first installment of its $3.1 billion gas debt to Russia, with the rest of the debt paid by the end of the year, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Monday.
“There are small changes [to Russia’s proposals] that we are ready to introduce within the framework of the memorandum, including the repayment of the $1.451 billion debt for November-December 2013 gas deliveries, with the rest of the debt paid by the end of the year,” Novak said.
He said Ukraine’s proposal, handed over to the European Commission, is to repay the $1.451 billion portion of the debt, with the rest paid in equal portions until March.
The talks over Ukraine's gas debt to Russia continue as Kiev is unhappy with the so-called winter package proposed by Moscow and the European Commission during a ministerial gas meeting that took place in late September in Berlin.
According to the plan, Ukraine was supposed to repay at least $3.1 billion of its gas debt to Russia before the end of the year and pay in advance for the delivery of five billion cubic meters of gas at a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, with a discount of $100. Russia also insisted that Ukraine paid $2 billion prior to the deliveries.
The Russian energy minister said Monday that Ukraine was ready to make prepayments for only 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas instead of the 5 billion suggested earlier.
Last week, the Russian Energy Ministry confirmed that it had agreed to the European Commission's proposal to hold another round of three-party gas talks in Berlin on October 21.
In June, Russia's gas giant Gazprom was forced to introduce a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine due to Kiev's massive debt, which is currently estimated at $5.3 billion.