Kiev Says Ready to Sign 'Package Deal' for Russian Gas under Previous EU Proposals
BRUSSELS, June 25 (RIA Novosti) — Ukraine is ready to sign a package agreement with Gazprom based on proposals made by the European Commission, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said during his visit to Brussels Wednesday.
'Ukraine is ready to sign a so-called package agreement with the Russian side [based] on proposals made by the European Commission during the previous round of negotiations in Kiev, and work only on such a package agreement,' Prodan said in Brussels, where he was to meet with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.
The European Commission proposed a sparing repayment scheme for Ukraine's gas debt. Under the suggested terms, Kiev would pay off $1 billion on June 16, and the rest would be settled with Gazprom in another six payments over the remainder of the year.
The commission also recommended an adjustable price specific to seasonal gas demand: $300 per one thousand cubic meters of Russian gas during the summer, when demand for fuel is low, and $385 for the winter.
The Russian compromise was a $100 discount to the contract price, bringing it down to $385, as well as a phased debt repayment scheme, calculated using the discount before June 26. Ukraine rejected the offer, dissatisfied with the discount mechanism, as the reduction would have come as a result of lower export duties. Kiev pushed for revisions to the contract itself, deadlocking the negotiations.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Kiev's move to refocus the talks on price revisions rather than Ukraine's $4.46 billion debt, compounded by Naftogaz' unwillingness to compromise, sabotaged a sensible compromise.
Kiev is continuing consultations with the European Commission and hopes the next meeting to discuss gas issues will take place next week, according to the Ukrainian energy minister.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier that the trilateral talks could continue only after Kiev pays off its gas debt. Novak also stressed that bilateral gas cooperation is in the interests of both Moscow and Kiev, as Ukraine needs gas deliveries from Gazprom, while Russia is interested in reliable gas transit to Europe.
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