MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine’s Naftogaz hopes that by winter its lawsuit against Gazprom in Stockholm can get an interim ruling, Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev stated Monday.
“By winter we only have a chance for an interim ruling, which will depend on the tactic we chose, we have several options," Kobolev said on Ukrainian TV channel ICTV.
On June 16, right after the switch to a prepayment system for gas deliveries, Naftogaz filed charges with Stockholm arbitration court to contest the price for natural gas. Specifically, the Ukrainian state-owned company is seeking to recover some $6 billion from Gazprom it claims to have overpaid since 2010.
Gazprom sued Naftogaz at the same Stockholm arbitration court to recover its debt, which reached $4.5 billion at the time of the switch to prepayment system.
According to Kobolev, Gazprom and Naftohaz suits have been combined into one, which should speed up the proceedings.
“We have certain progress in combining these lawsuits, I can say that they have been combined, which will significantly speed up the actual proceedings. Right now arbiters are being assigned, once it’s done, the case will be considered,” Kobolev added.
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.