21:25 GMT25 January 2021
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    PARIS (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Ukraine could get 25 percent cheaper gas if it can reach an agreement with Russia.

    "You will have it [gas]. But it could be a lot cheaper, if we agree on joint frank work," Putin said, adding that the gas "could be cheaper by 25 percent, as compared to what the end consumer currently gets, primarily the industrial consumer, because the price of gas for the domestic consumer, for citizens [of Ukraine], is subsidized, we can’t calculate the price from the subsidized price," Putin explained, speaking at a joint press conference in Paris, following the Normandy Four summit.

    Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there was a high probability that the contract on the transit of gas from Russia to Europe via Ukraine would be extended after January 1.

    "We really spent a great deal of time during our one-on-one meeting on this [gas] issue ... there’s no agreement yet, but I’m sure that we have more chances to sign it under better conditions than before," Zelenskyy told reporters in Paris, adding that "already no one is talking about a contract for one year, it was removed from the discussion ... I insisted on the most favourable, ambitious conditions for Ukraine and Europe, that is ten years."

    Speaking at a press briefing after the joint press conference of Normandy Four leaders in Paris, the Ukrainian leader added that the issue of the compensation of $3 billion has been taken off the table during the Monday Normandy talks.

    Late on Monday, Ukraine's Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev said that Ukraine was ready to sign a new transit contract with Russia’s Gazprom.

    In November, Gazprom sent Ukraine's Naftogaz an official proposal to extend the transit contract, which expires on December 31, or enter into a new one for one year, taking into account the projected demand in the EU. The Russian gas giant said that the prerequisite for continued transit was that both sides must give up their lawsuits and claims to antitrust authorities against one another. At the same time, Gazprom said it was waiting for Ukraine's position regarding its readiness to directly purchase Russian gas starting in 2020.

    Last week, Ukrainian Energy Minister Oleksiy Orzhel said that Kiev would not withdraw its lawsuits against Russia's Gazprom lodged in international arbitration courts unless it could agree a gas transit and delivery deal with Russia.

    Ukraine's Naftogaz said in November that it was ready to consider Gazprom's proposals on return of $3 billion dollars in debt and discuss compensation so that Kiev would not proceed with an additional $12.2 billion lawsuit.


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