Russia Ready to Review Ukraine's Gas Debt, Scrap Prepayment Scheme – Energy Minister
BRUSSELS, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will not introduce advance gas payments for Ukraine and review its gas debt downwards if Kiev pays off $2 billion of its gas debt by June 16 and clears arrears in full by June 26, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.
"It was suggested to review the payoff schedule for debts accumulated in April and May in accordance with our gas price proposal taking into account the [proposed] discount [of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters]," Novak told reporters after gas talks in Brussels.
He said that the discount will be applied to supplies starting from April and Ukraine's debt to Russia can thus be revised to $2.353 billion from the current $3 billion.
Russia is ready to negotiate any time before the June 16 deadline if it sees that Ukraine is willing to compromise, the Russian minister added.
Russia offered Ukraine Wednesday to restore a $100 discount to the gas price of $485 per 1,000 cubic meters as part of the solution to the energy row between Moscow and Kiev, Novak said.
This discount was applicable to the price established by a 2009 contract between Russia's energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz from April 2010 until April 2014 when Moscow cancelled all gas discounts to Kiev following the ouster of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.
'We mean to restore the discount starting with payments for April-May deliveries and the following months,' Novak said at a news conference in Brussels after trilateral talks on energy security involving Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission.
Novak said the resulting price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters is absolutely fair marketwise and it is within a price range outlined in the Ukrainian aid program, approved by the International Monetary Fund.
"It is absolutely a market price, which corresponds to the lower range of a price bracket for countries neighboring with Ukraine. This price also discourages consumers from re-exporting Russian gas," Novak said.
Gazprom says Ukraine still owes Russia over $4 billion for deliveries in November-December 2013 and April-May 2014.
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