Russia should not sell gas to Ukraine, because Ukraine does not pay
Kiev authorities remain adamant in their wish to buy Russian gas against the backdrop of past discounts, including the one that was provided to Viktor Yanukovych in late 2013, the head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Stepan Kubiv, stated in Washington. Economist Said Gafurov shared his opinion with Pravda.Ru on how Gazprom should respond to the Kiev junta.
"How should Russia solve the "gas issue" with the current Kiev authorities, which does not recognize the price of 500 dollars per thousand cubic meters of fuel?"
"One has to understand that Ukraine is now represented by frankly interim officials. These people feel how political ground is slipping from under their feet, they feel deprived of political future, and all their activities will be reduced to populism. They are well aware of the fact that not only Russia, not only Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, not only Miller and generally the Gazprom management, no one, either in Europe or elsewhere - no one will negotiate with them. Because everyone understands that very soon they will go, so no one is interested in making any arrangements with them.
"Therefore, their reaction is, in fact, predictable on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is quite uninteresting and unimportant. They will scream and shout, they will make threatening gestures, they will threaten to block the transit of gas. In fact, this is very bad, because we do not know whether the elections in mid-May are going to take place. However, regardless of all this, they need to fill underground storage facilities with gas, and they, of course, will not do it."
"Should Russia continue to work with Ukraine as before, that is to supply gas and wait for payment?"
"It is obvious that these people, if we continued to work with them like we did before, would simply steal all of this gas. Then they would say, "we are leaving, and after us the deluge, let the next government consider it all." So, naturally, one can not talk to these people. They say now that they will not pay for gas. A part of the debt was restructured, and 3 of 15 billion that were promised to Yanukovych, were transferred. Rather, that money was used to buy Ukrainian securities that are now in the treasury. A long-term conversation simply can not be in such circumstances, when there is a man sitting in front of you, and this man is an irresponsible contractor, who is not responsible for anything, who only intends to use the situation for his own purpose. Of course, the only question that is possible to discuss with such people is a question of prepayment. There is no other way. Discussing loans, including commodity loans is for serious people. In Kiev, there is a junta today - those people are not serious."
"However, what to do in a situation when Ukraine clearly states that it is not going to pay the price that Gazprom set?"
"Then one should not sell gas to them. Now there is no big problem about it. Gazprom is actually prepared. Now the summer season begins, during which the Ukrainians have no need for heating gas. They are ready to maneuver between their own reserves that the previous government had saved and their own production, which they have. In principle, one should not sell gas to Ukraine, because Ukraine doesn't pay.
"Everyone understands that this is a force majeure situation. I have recently returned from Athens and from Budapest, where there were international conferences with the participation of French, German, Austrian specialists, and I can say that there is a very clear understanding that the people, who seized power in Kiev, are going to stay in power for a short period. In Europe, it is well understood. And all this anti-Russian rhetoric is happening to annoy Russia. I had heard several times during the conferences that I attended that it was unbearable shame for the whole of united Europe, in which there is a country, where, as it turns out, fascists come to seize power."This is totally unacceptable," people say. They believe that Ukraine is no longer significant for them, at least under the current junta in Kiev. They say that Ukraine does not interest them, because Ukraine is a doormat on which one wipes their feet to punch Russia."
"Is there a great risk that Ukraine will stop the transit of gas to Europe?"
"On the one hand, the risk is, of course, great, because irresponsible people can do anything. It's good that it's spring time now. Gazprom's management and the Russian administration, including the financial management, the Central Bank, behaved prudently. If there were no "Nord Stream" now, then of course, the situation could be completely different. But we have the "Nord Stream," and the way through Turkey is finally open. Although, of course, the Ukrainian pipe was the largest source for a variety of reasons, but, nevertheless, now one can go bypassing Ukraine. For Russia, it will be a little more expensive.
"Well, well ... The Ukrainians in principle can stop the gas transit to Europe, but it is not a big threat at all. If they do, Europe will turn its back on Ukraine. But I repeat, it is very difficult to predict the future of the interim people, who are aware that they are there just for a little while."
Read the original in Russian
Ukranian crisis: gas factor, possible outcomes and class struggle