Updated 3:50 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that the terms of a deal on supplies of Russian natural gas to Ukraine should be acceptable for Kiev, but Ukraine still needs to pay its debts to Russia's energy giant Gazprom.
"There is no doubt that we have to continue searching for compromises, we should maintain contacts keeping in mind that the debts must be paid off, but the conditions for Ukraine in this situation must be sufficiently acceptable," Medvedev said at a meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission are currently involved in trilateral talks on resolving the standing issues over Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine.
According to preliminary arrangements, Russia and Ukraine are expected to sign the so-called "winter package" on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine that envisions supply of five billion cubic meters of gas within half a year and with a possible increase in volume. The temporary price for 1,000 cubic meters of gas would be $385 for this period.
Kiev, however, rejects Russia's offer of the discount in the form of an export-duty exemption and wants the contract price to be reduced instead.
Ukraine also wants to agree the debt repayment schedule, as well as terms and schedules of future gas deliveries and insists on amending the current gas contract with Russia in order to formally authorize reverse deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine from Europe.
In June, Gazprom was forced to introduce a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine due to Kiev's massive debt which is currently estimated at $5.3 billion.
The European Union has repeatedly highlighted the importance of trilateral talks over the gas issue, fearing of potential troubles with gas transit via Ukraine.