Updated 3:48 p.m. Moscow Time
KIEV, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Thursday he hoped to sign a legally binding document with Gazprom on search for compromise during the upcoming gas talks in Brussels, also involving Russia and the European Union.
“We will insist on signing a legally binding document, obliging Gazprom and Naftogaz to find a certain compromise so that Ukraine could buy gas at a fair price,” he said.
The statement runs contrary to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s expectations, who said Wednesday he was “quite skeptical” about the upcoming talks in Brussels on October 29.
Following Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks on October 21 in Brussels, Ukraine's Energy Minister stated that the country was ready to submit a draft of a legally binding document defining a temporary "winter plan" for gas, and insisted that Gazprom and Naftogaz should sign the document with a fixed price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. The Russian side has expressed concern that such an agreement could affect the decision of the Stockholm arbitration court.
In June, Russian energy giant Gazprom was forced to introduce a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine due to Kiev's massive debt, currently estimated at $5.3 billion. Following the move, Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz filed a lawsuit with the Stockholm arbitration court requesting a review of its gas contract with Gazprom. The company is seeking to reduce the price it pays Russia for natural gas and to recover some $6 billion from Gazprom it claims to have overpaid since 2010. Gazprom, in turn, filed a lawsuit with the Stockholm arbitration court over the company’s debt.
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said following the talks in Brussels that two temporary agreements – one political and one commercial – are expected to be signed during the next round of trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union on October 29.