KIEV, September 11 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine needs to make a choice: either to save five billion cubic meters of gas for the heating season, or to purchase these volumes from Gazprom, Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev said in an interview with Ukrainian Fifth Channel on Thursday.
"Five billion is precisely the sum of those interest savings I'm talking about. That is, if we take the consumption of the last year, without saving anything, we lack the five billion. We either have to purchase them from Russia, because other directions are already loaded, or to reduce consumption. This is a choice that we have to make consciously and operate in either one direction or the other, " Kobolev said.
In late August, Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said that the country can do without Russian gas during the heating season at the confluence of favorable circumstances, such as if the coming winter is warm.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk also said that on the eve of winter Ukraine must purchase about 5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia before winter.
Russia and Ukraine conducted talks on the gas situation from April through to June to no avail. Kiev insisted on the gas price decrease, but eventually declined the suggested discount. It also refused to clear its gas debt, which forced Gazprom to stop gas deliveries to Ukraine that are not paid for.
In June, Russia introduced prepayment mode of gas deliveries to Ukraine over its $5.3 billion debt and warned that it could reduce gas supplies to Europe shall Kiev siphon off gas transited to Europe through its territory. European Commission Vice President Gunther Oettinger said Monday the date of trilateral gas talks between Moscow, Kiev and the Commission, supposed to resolve the gas crisis, would be determined by the end of the week.