Russia confirms partial payment from Ukraine in gas debt

Updated: 2014-06-02 19:42


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MOSCOW - Russia confirmed Monday it had received 786.4 million US dollars in partial payment of Ukraine's gas debt, and had rescheduled a prepayment scheme due to start from June 9.

Two money transfers had been made as payment for gas supplies in February and March 2014, when Ukraine's Naftogaz company took 1.64 billion and 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas respectively at 268.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, according to Russia's Energy Ministry.

Russia's state-owned Gazprom company chief Alexei Miller told reporters Moscow had decided to postpone the start of the prepayment regime from June 9, but noted Ukraine must pay its gas debt for May before that day.

"Introduction of the prepayment regime will depend on repayment of the debt for gas delivered prior to April 1, totaling 2.237 billion dollars, a portion of which was paid today," the Interfax news agency quoted Miller as saying.

Meanwhile, he said, if the Ukrainian gas debt was settled, Russia would be prepared to consider a scheme of resolving the price issue "not only through a lower export customs duty, but also in direct commercial talks on a corporative basis."

Russia's confirmation came on the same day Moscow, Kiev and European Union representatives gathered for gas talks.

Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has said Monday's talks will "either end in a signing of a Russian-Ukrainian deal or with Kiev turning to a Stockholm arbitration court."

Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan also said Kiev was preparing a suit worth "hundreds of billion dollars" against Russia's adoption of Crimea from Ukraine in late March.

In 2010, Russia and Ukraine signed a gas-for-fleet agreement, under which Moscow offered a discounted gas price in exchange for extending its lease of its Black Sea fleet facility in Crimea for another 25 years. 
In April, Moscow declared the pact no longer valid as Crimea joined Russia in March.Following the announcement, Gazprom canceled discounts on gas supplies to Ukraine and set a price of 485 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, which Kiev called overpriced and temporarily suspended gas imports.