MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian side has agreed to consider an option to partially settle the gas debt for Russian gas by paying $2 billion by Friday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told the Rossiya 24 TV channel Tuesday.
“The Ukrainian side has agreed to work out the issue to be agreed with the Ukrainian leadership by this Friday to pay $2 billion for the Russian gas supplies,” Miller said, as he arrived for a three-party ministerial gas meeting in Berlin between Russia, Ukraine and the EU.
“This is at least something,” he said adding that Ukraine will pay $500 million for gas supplies in May through June 7 without any disputes on the pricing.
Russia and Ukraine on Monday failed to agree on the future price for Russian gas deliveries to Kiev, but there is a good chance that the sides may negotiate partial payment of Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia by Thursday, the EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger earlier told journalists.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan told journalists in Berlin Monday that Ukraine does not believe that its $2.2 billion debt before Gazprom as of April 1 is unarguable.
Prodan said the sides have reached no particular agreements at the three-party talks in Berlin but there is hope that the consultations will continue. The minister failed to confirm that Kiev is expected to partially pay the debt to Russia this week.
Miller said the risks related to Ukraine’s non-payment for gas will remain until Friday.
Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas deliveries stands at $3.5 billion as of late April as Kiev continues to reject the new price of $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas. The price has been in place since April, when Russia cancelled two major discounts for Ukraine.
Responding to Kiev’s unwillingness to pay for gas, Gazprom announced a switch to a prepayment scheme, in full accordance with the countries' 2009 energy contract. Following the decision, Gazprom prepared an advance bill for Ukraine’s Naftogaz for June deliveries, with supplies to be suspended starting June 3 if the debt is not repaid. This does not potentially create risks for Russian gas transit to Europe.