Russian President ordered Aleksei Miller, the chairman of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, to collect the gas debt from Ukraine. “We have to make the final decision with Ukraine’s debt and collect the debt either voluntarily or forcibly as it is stipulated by the law and within the framework of our bilateral relations,” Medvedev told Miller at an official meeting.
Gazprom’s chairman told the president that Ukraine owed $2.4 billion to Russia for natural gas, Itar-Tass reports.
“Our Ukrainian partners owe us over 2.4 billion dollars. This is a large amount for any country and any company, including Gazprom,” Medvedev agreed.
Medvedev reminded that Russia and Ukraine had come to an agreement to regulate the debt issue during Yulia Tymoshenko’s recent visit to Russia. “The Ukrainian prime minister said that Ukraine would return the debt in accordance with established procedure,” Medvedev said.
The president also wondered about the gas agreement with Ukraine for the next year. Medvedev pointed out that the current situation in the world “was not very simple” and said that he was talking about the prices on oil, the general state of financial and economic affairs and the consequences of the global financial crisis for Russia.
Aleksei Miller also said that Gazprom was in talks with Ukraine regarding a long-term contract for natural gas shipments, although the debt issue complicated the talks.
“All the necessary documents are ready on the corporate level. However, the debt issue remains unsolved. Our question to Ukraine – where is the money – is absolutely appropriate taking into consideration the debt amount. We do not see any progress in the relations with the Ukrainian side and we are not certain if we ever see this money,” Miller told Medvedev.
Medvedev said that Russia needs to take all measures that could be possible within the framework of the bilateral relations, including contractual and administrative actions.