BERLIN, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes that a compromise solution on the gas issue that is in interests of both Russia and Ukraine, will be found before winter, Merkel told journalists in Berlin Thursday.
"As for the gas, I hope that [European] Commissioner [Gunther] Oettinger will be able to find a solution that will give confidence both to us and Ukraine, especially in light of the upcoming months. This is being actively worked out, so I am cautiously optimistic," the German chancellor said.
In June, 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. Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission are currently involved in trilateral talks on resolving the standing issues over Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine.
During a ministerial gas meeting held in Berlin on September 26, Moscow and the European Commission proposed the so-called winter package, the deal that would seek Ukraine pay $3.1 billion of its debt to Russia by the end of the year in exchange for gas deliveries during winter months at $385 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Ukraine is not satisfied with the package saying it wants to agree the debt repayment schedule, as well as terms and schedules of future gas deliveries and insists on amending the current gas contract with Russia in order to formally authorize reverse deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine from Europe.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia’s Minister of Energy Aleksander Novak said that the date of the next Russia-Ukraine-European Union gas talks may be announced “in the next day or two.” Novak also added that Russia is ready to meet on any proposed day, but the date should be agreed by all sides.