by Daniel J. Graeber
Moscow (UPI) Sep 30, 2014
Whether or not there's enough natural gas on hand to meet Ukrainian needs depends on the parties in Kiev, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday.
Novak said a winter gas plan for Ukraine could be on its way to Russian lawmakers for consideration soon.
"It all depends on Ukraine," he said. "I believe that from our side we are practically ready to do everything that we agreed on in regard to this packet. We'll wait for a reaction from Ukraine in the next few days when everything becomes clear."
Ukraine under an interim deal would pay the $3.1 billion it owes Russian energy Gazprom. Ukraine, in return, would get a price discount and assurances of adequate winter natural gas supplies.
Russia sends most of its gas for European consumers through the Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine. Contractual disputes in 2006 and 2009 between Kiev and Gazprom resulted in brief gas shortages in Europe, and ongoing crises in eastern Ukraine have exposed the European community to additional energy risks.
Novak said more momentum on the winter plan is expected when Russian joins its Ukrainian and European negotiating partners later this week in Berlin.
"First, the three parties [Russia, Ukraine, EU] need to agree during the trilateral consultations, then we'll be able to talk about the next steps: putting it on the government's agenda," he said.
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