Russia getting support from European Commission in Ukraine gas talks – Novak

Gas Facility file photo

(Interfax – June 2, 2014) The European Commission has effectively supported the Russian position in the second and third round of talks on payment of Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television.

“I consider that the European Commission has behaved quite constructively at these and previous consultations and many of the positions that Russia has announced are effectively being supported, including on the need to repay the debt. In the estimation of [European Commission] Energy Commissioner [Gunther Oettinger] that price the Ukrainian side is declaring – $268 per 1,000 cubic meters – is not a market price,” Novak said.

“The Ukrainian side is constantly changing its position: it previously said it would not contest the debt as of April 1, 2014, either prices or volumes Then it said it would only pay for deliveries in February and March [and would dispute the price of deliveries in 2013],” Novak said.

The talks scheduled for Monday will include a discussion of the repayment schedule, he said.

The price proposed by Ukraine – $268 per 1,000 cubic meters – is unacceptable for Russia, he said. “The discussion here can only be about the price that has shaped up on the market and at which Russia delivers gas to neighboring, analogous EU countries,” he said, adding that price all the same remains a subject for talks between the companies, since the contract contains a great number of provisions.

The European Commission has come to the “complete understanding” that Russia has no interest in escalating the situation and is fully meeting its commitments. “Meanwhile, the Ukrainian side keeps changing its position, making fresh demands, and is still not paying for the gas being delivered,” Novak said.

Russia, in contrast to Ukrain e, is not aggravating the situation by filing a lawsuit in Stockholm arbitration, which will prevent a speedy settlement of the issues in dispute. “We are trying to find a compromise and reach an agreement. We are interested in having reliable, stable gas deliveries to consumers in Ukraine and in Europe,” he said.