09:01 GMT +311 December 2017
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    In June, Moscow switched Kiev to a prepayment system of gas deliveries in light of Kiev's gas debt of more than $5 billion. Since then, Ukraine has been receiving gas through reverse flows from several European countries and using its own reserves.

    Russia Ready to Discuss Next Gas Deal With Kiev if Debt Settlement Included

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    If Ukraine's proposal on the new gas contract does not envisage debt repayment, a document of that kind will make no sense to Russia, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia is ready to discuss the summer gas agreement with Ukraine as long as the talks include a clear schedule of Ukrainian debt repayment, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

    "If [the future agreement] includes the current issue of repayment of arrears and a clear schedule of settling the debt, then this matter can be discussed. But if the proposal is absolutely similar to the current contract, a document of that kind will make no sense," the minister said.

    Ukraine owes Russia $2.5 billion in gas payments, he added.

    Kiev's outstanding debt forced Moscow to suspend gas deliveries to Ukraine for nearly six months in 2014.

    Deliveries resumed on December 9 under a so-called winter prepayment plan, mediated by the European Union and signed by Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz companies in late October 2014. The winter plan expires April 1 this year.

    The acute energy shortage in Ukraine has been exacerbated not only by its outstanding gas debt to Russia, but also by the recent surge in hostilities that have cut Kiev off from the coal-rich eastern Ukrainian region.

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    gas debt, agreement, Alexander Novak, Ukraine, Russia
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