The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday that Russia expects no problems with Ukraine's payment for Russian natural gas in December.
"I presume Gazprom officials will be celebrating New Year at their homes," Alexei Miller said.
However, he said concerns remain over January payments, with the first installment for 2010 due on January 7.
Miller also said Ukraine has been using more Russian gas in December than planned, due to the cold weather and the country's slight economic upturn.
He said Kiev, which has so far paid 20% less than Russian gas consumers in Europe, will start paying the average European price from January 1.
Ukraine, which transits 80% of Russian gas to Europe, will receive a total of 27 bcm in 2009, compared to an average of 55 bcm in the pre-crisis years.
Earlier this month, Ukraine's national energy firm Naftogaz gave assurances that no new gas crisis with Russia was looming, as it had been paying for supplies on schedule.
Naftogaz and Russian gas monopoly Gazprom signed a 10-year contract in January, ending the New Year dispute and resuming supplies to and via Ukraine.
MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti)