KIEV, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian government has accumulated $3.1 billion on its accounts to pay off the debt for gas supplies from Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Sunday.
"We have the funds – the government has accumulated $3.1 billion on [its] accounts," Yatsenyuk told the Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel, discussing funds Ukraine could use to pay for Russian gas deliveries.
Ukraine is now facing the approaching winter with low natural gas reserves. In June, Russian energy giant Gazprom switched Ukraine to a prepayment system for gas deliveries in light of Ukraine's gas debt, which is estimated at over $5 billion.
In September, during ministerial talks in Berlin, Russia and the European Commission proposed a so-called winter package, which stipulated that Ukraine was to pay off $3.1 billion of its debt by the end of 2014 in exchange for gas supplies in the winter. 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. However, Ukraine refused to make any advanced payment for Russian gas supplies, insisting for payments to be made upon delivery.