World Bulletin/News Desk
Ukraine has paid $786 million to Russia's Gazprom in a first step to pay off its gas debts amounting to $3.5 billion, EU's energy chief Guenther Oettinger said Friday.
"Russia and Gazprom have said that the first step towards establishing trust would be taken once the money is received, and we will resume negotiations Monday in Brussels," Oettinger told reporters after a meeting with Russian Energy Minister Aleksander Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan in Berlin.
The first transfer made by Ukraine's Naftogaz, which corresponds to the February-March period, should be in Gazprom's accounts by Monday, Oettinger said, adding that he hoped progress would be made on setting a new price for gas as of June 1.
Earlier on Friday, Oettinger had called on Ukraine to begin repaying its gas debt owed to Russia and urged Moscow to offer a fairer price for gas.
"The Russian demand, $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas is not a fair price according to current market conditions," Oettinger said, adding that the average price paid by EU member states is between $350 and $390.
"Our priority is setting a new price and we offer $268.5," Prodan, the Ukrainian energy minister, said.
Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian gas company, increased gas prices from $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters to $485 in April, terminating its previous agreement with the former pro-Russian government of Ukraine.
Russia has also threatened last month to cut off its natural gas supplies to Ukraine unless Kiev pays its debt by June 1. Currently, Ukraine has a $3.5 billion gas debt to Russia.
"Once we receive confirmation of the payment, we will start negotiations on future gas shipments and the payment of the remaining debt," Novak said.Last Mod: 31 Mayıs 2014, 09:47