KIEV Aug 19 Ukraine's energy minister on
Tuesday said the country was prepared to pay an interim
compromise price for Russian gas and criticised Russia's Gazprom
for being unwilling to negotiate.
Last year, Russia supplied about half of the gas Ukraine
used, but Gazprom cut supplies on June 16 in a row over pricing
and after Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
Ukraine, which is sourcing more gas from the European Union
and cutting consumption from last year's 50 billion cubic metres
(bcm), is prepared to compromise on the price until a lawsuit it
has filed against Gazprom is resolved, minister Yuri Prodan
"We are ready to talk about some kind of reasonable
compromise price until the situation is resolved (by the
court)...but Gazprom is not taking part in the negotiation
process," Prodan told reporters. "There is no compromise yet
from Gazprom's side."
In June, Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz filed a
lawsuit at the Stockholm arbitration court to establish a "fair
and market price" for natural gas supplies from Gazprom.
The case is still in its preliminary stages and it is not
known when a final ruling will be reached.
Prodan said around 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of reverse
flows from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia would cover over 50
percent of Ukraine's gas import needs this year.
However Ukraine needs to find another 5 bcm in imports for
October-March, he said. "We're getting ready for a difficult
Gazprom declined to comment. In April the company voiced
doubts over the legality of reversed gas flows from the West to
substitute for Russian supplies.
In June, the head of Ukraine's state gas company said Kiev
was ready to pay a compromise price of $326 per 1,000 cubic
metres of Russian natural gas for an interim 18-month period to
allow time to end the pricing dispute with Moscow.
On Tuesday, Prodan did not say what compromise price Ukraine
is now willing to consider from Gazprom.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Additional reporting by Vladimir
Soldatkin; Writing by Alessandra Prentice, editing by William