Ukraine Denies Siphoning Russian Gas - Energy Minister
MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti) — Ukraine is not siphoning off transit gas to Europe and has no plans to do so, Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan told journalists Wednesday.
"We're not siphoning off any gas today and we're not planning on siphoning off from [gas] volumes that are being transited to Europe,' Prodan said.
The CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, suggested that Ukraine was extremely likely to begin illegally siphoning off Europe-bound gas in the fall, following Russia's switch to a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine on June 16, due to its accumulated debt.
Ukrainian Naftogaz' debt to Gazprom began snowballing in 2013, when the country found itself in a deep political crisis, and is currently $4.46 billion, according to the latest estimates.
Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine will have to deal with a "full-scale gas crisis" by this fall, if Moscow and Kiev fail to promptly settle their gas dispute.
Ukraine has accumulated 14.2 billion cubic meters of gas in its underground storage facilities. The country needs at least 18.5 cubic meters of gas for the fall and winter heating season and to ensure reliable gas transit to Europe, Russia estimates.
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