KIEV, August 11 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a phone conversation with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday discussed resuming gas talks between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union.
“The leaders also discussed the issue of energy cooperation and a possibility of resuming gas talks in the trilateral format EU-Ukraine-Russia,” a statement issued on Poroshenko’s official website said.
Earlier today, a source close to the EU leadership told RIA Novosti that the next Russia-EU-Ukraine ministerial meeting on gas may take place in September.
Earlier on August 7, Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev said he was ready to consider using an intermediary to resolve the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute, but warned that the involvement of a third party could complicate the issue.
Previous gas talks took place from April until mid-June, but did not yield any significant results. Kiev insisted on a dramatic reduction in the price it paid for Russian gas, refusing to clear its existing debt, which, by that time, had reached $4.5 billion. Russia suggested a price reduction, but Ukraine did not agree to the conditions of the offer.
Later, Russia stated it was ready to resume the discussion only once Ukraine had paid off its debt. Gazprom switched to a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine on June 16. The most recent estimate puts Ukraine’s debt at $5.3 billion. The Commission and Gazprom anticipate problems in winter, when Kiev is expected to run out of its own gas reserves.