Russia has not discussed with Ukraine any possible revisions to the natural gas contracts between the two countries following Kiev’s decision to postpone the signing of an association agreement with the E.U., Russian President Vladimir Putin said late on Tuesday, as cited by RIA Novosti.
“We have the contract between (natural gas giant) Gazprom and (Ukrainian state-owned gas company) Naftogaz Ukrainy, until 2019. We haven’t discussed any possible revisions the contract,” Putin said.
Ukraine has been trying to revise its gas contract with Russia for several years as it considers the price to be excessive. Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said on November 24 that Moscow had promised to revise the contract.
Putin said that Ukraine had saved more than U.S $10 billion on gas purchases thanks to discounts provided by Moscow in exchange for prolonging the lease on a naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea.
Russia provided a discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters from the $529 price per 1,000 cubic meters, under an agreement on the fleet signed in 2010.
Ukrainian companies owe $28 billion to lending organizations from Russia. Moscow will work with Kiev to settle this debt, Putin said separately.
Of the total, the debt to Russia’s Gazprombank, Sberbank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), and VTB exceeds $20 billion.
“We have worked with Ukraine and will continue to regardless of Ukraine’s decision signing the document on the (free trade) zone with the E.U.,” Putin said.
On November 21, the Ukrainian government ordered the suspension of the preparatory process to sign an association agreement with the E.U., which was scheduled for Friday. Kiev attributed the suspension to its decision to develop economic relations with Russia and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
SOURCE: PRIME, 2013