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.

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