Ukraine asks Russia for lower gas prices for winter season
Ukraine asked Russia on Friday for lower gas prices for the winter and said Moscow should accept to write off a part of its loans to Kiev, as other international bondholders did this week.
Gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine have led to cut-offs of supply in the past, and one standoff in 2009 caused serious disruptions in gas flowing from Russia via Ukraine to the European Union.
Russia and Ukraine last year struck an emergency deal on prices through the winter. That deal has expired, however, and the sides have to hold new talks if Ukraine is to receive more Russian gas.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday he is convinced that Kiev and Moscow should go back to the last winter deal, which saw Ukraine pre-pay for gas but receive a sizeable discount.
“We are convinced that the only mechanism to ensure a gas transit to the EU as well as stable supplies to Ukraine is applying the same mechanism that was worked out last year between the EU, Ukraine and Russia,” he said in comments released by his press office.
Under a deal reached last November, Ukraine agreed to buy gas from Russia at US$385 per 1,000 cubic meters. On top of that, Russia offered a 30 percent discount of the contract price, which was worth up to US$100 off per 1,000 cubic meters, depending on the fluctuations in global energy prices.
The Ukrainian government on Thursday reached a deal with its international bondholders to lighten its public debt burden. It will see the creditors write off 20 percent of their bond holdings, shrinking US$19 billion in sovereign debt to US$15.5 billion.