KIEV, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine still refuses to negotiate Russia’s proposed discount of $100 per 1,000 billion cubic meters of gas, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Friday.
“We were again suggested the price of $385 [per 1,000 billion cubic meters] with a $100 discount because of export duty cancellation. The Russian side thinks that the price of $485 is fair. We think that this price is discriminatory,” he said.
Prodan also dismissed as “baseless” Russia’s concerns that Ukraine will tap Europe-bound transit gas from its pipeline network amid expected gas shortages in winter.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak voiced the concerns after Friday’s meeting with European Commission Vice President Gunther Oettinger.
“These assumptions are baseless and are aimed only at discrediting the Ukrainian route and the promotion of alternative pipelines to EU – the Nord Stream, the South Stream, Opal,” Prodan said.
According to Novak, Ukraine would need to pump around 10 billion cubic meters of gas into its underground storage facilities in order to make it through winter.
On June 16, Russian gas giant Gazprom was forced to implement a prepayment scheme for gas deliveries to Ukraine after several unsuccessful rounds of talks on the new price and debt repayment.
The Russian compromise was a $100 discount to the contract price, bringing it down to $385, as well as a phased debt repayment scheme. Ukraine declined the offer, dissatisfied with the discount mechanism. Ukraine’s gas debt is estimated to be more than $5.3 billion.
Ukraine is a transit country for Russian gas. Around half of the Russian gas imported in 2013 crossed Ukraine, which amounts to approximately 15 percent of European consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. Kiev illegally tapped Europe-bound gas during previous gas rows with Russia.