Updated 5:57 p.m. Moscow Time
MILAN, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday he and other members of four-party talks in Milan had agreed on basic parameters of the future gas contract.
“We agreed on basic parameters of the gas contract,” he told reporters after the meeting that was also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ukraine is facing the approaching winter with low natural gas reserves. In June, Russian energy giant Gazprom switched Ukraine to the prepayment system for gas supplies in light of Ukraine’s more than $5 billion gas debt.
In September, during ministerial talks in Berlin, Russia and the European Commission proposed the so-called winter package, envisaging Ukraine paying $3.1 billion of its debt by the end of 2014 in exchange for winter gas deliveries. Russia also insisted that Ukraine pay the first tranche of $2 billion before the start of the deliveries.
On October 13, Russia said it was ready to offer Ukraine a more flexible schedule for the debt repayment, according to which Kiev should pay $1.45 billion in the first installment of $3.1 billion, with the rest of the debt to be paid by the year-end. But on the same day, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said his country was not willing to make any advanced payment for Russian gas supplies, insisting that payments be made upon delivery.