RIA Novosti: Russia Demands Kiev to Pay Gas Debt in Full Before June 9

Gas Flame file photo

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine has to pay Moscow the remaining part of $2.2 billion gas debt and agree on payment schedule for April-May gas supplies before June 9, press-service of Russia’s Energy Ministry said Monday.

“Before this deadline Ukraine has to pay the remaining part of $2.23 billion debt and also agree on payment schedule for the gas delivered after April 1,” the statement said.

“The first payment opens up an opportunity for talks on the whole scope of issues. Russia, the European Commission and Ukraine will continue consultations on the issue in the nearest future,” the ministry added referring to the $786.4 million tranche.

Kiev announced that it made this payment to Russia on Friday evening after the gas talks between the EU, Russia and Ukraine in Berlin.

The payment is 2.5 times smaller than the one the parties agreed on d uring previous talks. Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said that $786 million is the only undisputed part of the Kiev’s gas debt.

It’s a payment for gas supplied to Ukraine at the price of 268.5 dollars per thousand cubic meters from January to March 2014, he explained.

After receiving the payment Russian energy giant Gazprom had postponed the introduction of advance payment scheme for Ukraine until June 9.

The gas price for Ukraine surged from $268.5 to $485.50 per 1,000 cubic meters in April after Russia annulled two discounts granted previously to the country. Kiev keeps rejecting the new price saying it was ready to clear its debt if Moscow agreed to sell gas at the old price.

During the last trilateral energy meeting, Russia said it would only consider lowering the price of gas to Kiev if it begins paying off its gas debts. Naftogaz could transfer $2.2 billion by May 30 and another $500 million by June 7, which will cover unpaid gas bills from November to April, it was agreed on. Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said that Moscow will only move forward with talks as long as Kiev pays the first part of its debt by Friday.

Earlier this week EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said that Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia had reached $4 billion upgrading the previous figure of $3.5.

Simultaneously the Gazpom CEO announced that Ukraine would owe Russia about $5.2 billion for natural gas as of June 7 if it makes no payments by that date.

According to Gazprom, Ukraine’s Naftogaz halted all payments in November.