MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) – There are no grounds to assume that Russia would stop supplying gas to European countries, Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with EurActive news outlet published Tuesday.
"There is no ground for anybody in this part of Europe to believe that Russia would stop its gas supplies to European customers," Chizhov said in an interview. "Basic philosophy is the same; to provide energy security for Europe."
Concerns in Europe regarding possible interruptions of Russian gas supplies have arisen in light of the situation in Ukraine, which is a transit country for Russian gas transported to EU member states.
In June, Russian energy giant Gazprom introduced a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine over its gas debt of more than $5 billion. The transit of gas through Ukraine to Europe has not been interrupted so far, but the EU fears it may happen if the situation experiences complications.
According to the Russian Energy Ministry, the Russian and Ukrainian leaders reached a preliminary agreement on Kiev's repayment of its gas debt to Russia during talks in Milan last week. The agreement envisages Ukraine paying $1.45 billion of the debt in October and another $1.65 billion by the end of 2014. The parties also agreed on a temporary price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters for the winter season.
Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks will be held on October 21 in Brussels. Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that he expected the meeting to produce a written agreement on the gas issue.