MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) — Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas deliveries for June 1-16 is $838 million and its overall arrears have hit $5.3 billion, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Tuesday.
“The term of payment for June [gas deliveries] expired yesterday and we have once again not received any money from Ukraine’s Naftogaz," Miller said.
Miller said Russian gas giant Gazprom delivered 1.7 billion cubic meters of fuel from June 1 through June 16 to Ukraine, amounting to an additional $838 million on top of the country’s already existing arrears.
“Overall arrears have hit a gigantic amount: $5.296 billion. There is still 11.535 billion cubic meters of unpaid Russian gas. This is a huge amount comparable to the annual deliveries of Russian gas to Poland," Miller said.
Gazprom cut its supplies to Ukraine last month over a $4.5 billion debt, and switched to prepayment system. The company has also filed a lawsuit in the Stockholm Arbitration Court. In response, Ukraine’s state-run Naftogaz filed a lawsuit with the same arbitration court to review its 2009 bilateral gas contract with Gazprom.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier that the talks could continue only after Kiev pays off its gas debt.
Ukraine is both a transit country and a consumer of Russian gas. Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia started building in 2013, when the country found itself amid a deep political crisis. While the transit is currently continuing according to contractual terms, both Gazprom and the European Commission anticipate problems in winter, when Ukraine runs out of gas reserves.
Gazprom is a key gas supplier to the European market, meeting more than a quarter of the EU’s total gas needs. However, Europe has started looking at alternative gas sources, attempting to limit its dependence on Russian supplies.