Russia gives Ukraine gas discount, Kiev wants more
Europe asked Russia to reduce gas prices for Ukraine below the level of 385 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. "We've got four days. I offered to use every day for negotiations," said EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, after another round of talks between Russia, the EU and Ukraine.
"The proposal from the Russian side about the price of 385 dollars, if we can agree on it - is a good base. Probably, one will have to introduce additional discounts to the price of 385 dollars. That is, the final price can be 385 minus "X" instead of 385 plus "X"," Guenther Oettinger said, ITAR-TASS reports.
"These talks are difficult. These are the talks that are worth billions of dollars - continued the EU Energy Commissioner. - The negotiations will continue with the participation of all parties. And I think we still have enough room to maneuver in order to agree on a package of solutions for the remaining four days," he said.
The next meeting of gas talks is to be set within 48 hours.
Three hundred and eighty-five dollars per one thousand cubic meters of natural gas is the price that Ukraine was paying to Russia during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych.
Noteworthy, the price was formed owing to the discount, which Ukraine was given for its stable gas payment. However, for more than six months, Ukraine refuses to pay Gazprom for natural gas. Another payment from Ukraine's Naftogaz was due on June 10. The money has not arrived, but representatives for Gazprom said that the company was ready to wait before June 16.
"The conditions, which Gazprom offered its Ukrainian partners, are identical to the conditions that the government of Viktor Yanukovych had. It goes about a discount of $100 from the contract price, with the final price of $385 per one thousand cubic meters," ITAR-TASS quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying.
He said that Russia's proposal for a discount on gas for Ukraine was more than just a partner's proposal. However, he added, if it is rejected, Moscow would switch to another form of relations with Kiev.
"We believe that our proposals are more than partnership offers to support the Ukrainian economy in its difficult enough times, to help. But if our proposals are rejected, then we will move into a completely different stage, and this will not be our choice. We do not want it," said Putin.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Ukraine must pay in full for April and May deliveries of Russian gas before June 16. It goes about the debt of two billion dollars. The minister stressed out that Russia fulfills its commitments and is ready to support the Ukrainian economy and give Kiev a discount.
"In fact, it goes about discounts, starting from April, May and subsequent months. Thus, in fact, from April 2010 the discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters is preserved," the minister said, saying that this was a contribution of the Russian Federation to the economy of Ukraine in view of its current situation and the need to maintain cooperative ties.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to elaborate on the option of fixed terms in gas supplies to Ukraine during a certain period of time.
"Judging by the pieces of information that we receive from the contracting parties - this is not even about mechanisms. This is about the fact that the Ukrainian partners are not happy with these discounts - they want more. Although, it is not very clear on what basis," - said Putin. He added: "If this is so, then, apparently, they are deliberately taking it all to nowhere."
Putin stressed out that he repeatedly appealed to European partners with a request to accompany the gas talks. "We're absolutely open and as transparent as possible in conducting it," said the Russian president.
Noting that Gazprom's new conditions are similar to those that were used during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, Putin drew attention to the fact that in neighboring countries, prices on natural gas were higher. "I draw your attention to the fact that neighboring countries - Poland and others - receive gas at a higher price with the same mechanism of the price index, namely, reduced export duty on gas," said the president.
Putin's statement came in response to the statements from Rada-appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseny Yatsenyuk. According to him, Russia's price for gas must be a market one. For Ukraine, a market price is 268 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. In Europe the price is 380-390 dollars.
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