KIEV, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev expects no energy conflicts with Russia during the forthcoming winter season, a Ukrainian deputy premier said in an interview aired on Sunday evening.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Boyko told Ukraine’s Inter TV that although Kiev is not satisfied with the terms of its 2009 gas deal to Russia, it fulfills its commitments under the treaty signed by the previous government.
“Transit obligations are being observed [by the Ukrainian side] in full so, naturally, there will be no cataclysms,” the deputy premier said
Ukraine has proclaimed a strategic course of Euro-integration and is set to sign a series of landmark trade agreements with the European Union in November. Meanwhile the Kremlin is pushing for the former Soviet state to commit to a Moscow-led Customs Union with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Experts say that ahead of the signing of the EU treaty, Russia might cut gas supplies to Ukraine over the unpaid a $7 billion bill for gas Ukraine did not use in 2012.
Boyko also said that talks with Russia on its proposal to set up a gas transport consortium to manage and modernize Ukraine's dilapidated gas pipeline network have been unsuccessful.
He cited disadvantageous terms of the deal, proposed by Russia, as a reason.
Ukraine wants to be an equal partner in the consortium, while Russian gas monopoly Gazprom sees little reason for modernizing it without gaining the possibility of controlling it.
Kiev and Moscow have a long history of disputes over natural gas deliveries, in particular over pricing.
In the latest Russian-Ukrainian gas row in early 2009, Russia halted all deliveries via Ukraine's pipeline system for two weeks after the two nations failed to agree a price for Russia’s gas deliveries to Ukraine.
The gas deal eventually signed between Moscow and Kiev in 2009 tied the price for Russian gas to international oil prices, which have risen significantly since 2009, boosting Ukraine's bill. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year jail sentence for exceeding her authority in signing that contract.