KIEV, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine is ready to resume trilateral gas negotiations with Russia and the European Union at any time, Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Thursday.
“We are ready to continue our consultations and talks. We are ready at any moment to begin the talks, we will speak about this with Mr. [Guenther] Oettinger,” Prodan told reporters in Brussels ahead of the meeting with the EU commissioner for energy.
The European Commission has confirmed plans to hold these talks with Russian and Ukrainian representatives, but the date has not been set yet, said Sabine Berger, spokesperson of Oettinger.
The European Commission previously planned to hold another three-party meeting over the gas issue at the ministerial level before the traditional August break. Last week, a diplomatic source also told RIA Novosti that gas consultations could be held in August.
Oettinger told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that he was not expected to meet with Russian Energy Minister Aleksander Novak to discuss the gas issue. This meeting could define the date for the three-party talks.
The talks, which started in April and continued through mid-June, have not produced any results. Kiev insisted on a considerable reduction of the price for the Russian gas, refusing to pay off its debt. Russia offered a discount that did not satisfy Ukraine.
In mid-June, Russian energy giant Gazprom was forced to switch to a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine after the talks mediated by Oettinger failed.
Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia started mounting back in 2013, when the country found itself amid a deep political crisis. According to the latest Gazprom estimates, Ukraine owes Russia $5.3 billion.