Topic: Russian-Ukrainian gas deal
KIEV, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine will start talks with the International Monetary Fund on a new loan only after reviewing its current gas contract with Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Friday.
“As soon as we review gas prices, we return to the negotiating table with IMF,” Azarov said. “They [IMF] have been sending a clear message to us: once you get Russia’s decision, we are ready to sit down at the negotiating table.”
The 2009 gas deal with Russia ties the price of gas to that of oil, which has risen sharply since 2009, boosting Ukraine's gas bill. Kiev insists the price and volume of its gas imports should be reduced.
Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz Ukraina has repeatedly informed Russian energy giant Gazprom that it would reduce the amount of gas it buys from Russia to 27 billion cubic meters a year. That amount is just over half of what Ukraine is obligated to buy under the terms of the 2009 gas deal.
The Ukrainian prime minister also said that the country should review the gas deal this year.
“I think Russia also has no doubts that this move should be made,” he said.
The minister also reiterated earlier reports that the country has no plans to pay a $7 billion bill from Gazprom for the gas the country did not use in 2012, which Kiev sees as “unjustified.”
“We gave [Gazprom] a very polite answer that we don’t consider this $7-billion bill justified and are not going to pay,” he said.
Delegations of Gazprom and Ukraine have met twice to discuss the issue, but the bill has never been mentioned in official documents. Gazprom never confirmed the $7 billion bill.
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