"In regard to transit gas through Ukraine, it's currently hard to say because no talks are being held. Ukraine doesn't have any desire to consider the transit contract…We believe that up until 2019, the current contract will be in force. What happens to transit gas after 2019 is not being discussed today," Novak said during an interview on Rossiya-24 television.
Novak added that Ukraine will receive Russian gas deliveries in the volumes needed in the future.
"We believe our cooperation will continue, including in gas deliveries after 2019," the energy minister said.
Russia's Gazprom and Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz signed a ten-year contract on gas transit and supply January 19, 2009. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the agreement is not subject to revisions or changes.
According to Gazprom, Naftogaz had made regular payments for Russian natural gas until August 2013 but, since then, Ukraine's payments have "started becoming incomplete, late, or in most cases, both."
In June, Moscow switched Kiev to a prepayment system for gas deliveries in light of Ukraine's gas debt of over $5 billion. Since then, Ukraine has been receiving gas through reverse flows from several European countries and using its own reserves.
In October, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement for Russian gas to be supplied to Ukraine through the winter until March 2015. According to the deal, Kiev will pay Moscow $3.1 billion by the end of 2014 to cover a part of its debt. In November, Naftogaz transferred the first $1.45 billion tranche of the debt to Gazprom. On December 9 Gazprom resumed gas supplies to Ukraine.
Earlier in December Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that risks in gas transit via Ukraine in winter are "extremely high" and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the issue of gas transit through the territory of Ukraine is settled only temporarily. As of 2013, 52% of Gazprom's gas supply to the European Union passed through Ukraine.