KIEV, May 27 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine is ready to pay its debt to Russia for gas deliveries only after securing a price of $268 per thousand cubic meters for future supplies, Finance Minister Oleksander Shlapak said Tuesday.
“We are ready to pay when they [Russia] confirm the price for further gas deliveries, but we are not satisfied with the proposals expressed currently: you pay and then we start talks,” Shlapak said.
“If such agreement is not reached, we will pay nothing,” Shlavak said, adding that Ukraine has enough foreign currency reserves to pay the debt.
The second round of three-party talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union was held in Berlin on Monday. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow was ready to continue talks on a new price for future gas supplies in case Ukraine pays at least part of its debt by Friday.
He added that there is no possibility of changing the contract price that was established in accordance with the 2009 deal between Gazprom and Naftogas but a discount could be considered. Novak underlined that the EU fully supports the Russian position that Kiev must pay its gas debt.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Tuesday that Ukraine had agreed to consider an option to partially settle its gas debt by paying $2 billion by Friday.
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, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said.
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 thousand 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. The move does not potentially create risks for Russian gas transit to Europe.