BERLIN May 30 Ukraine must make a down-payment
to Russia for gas and in return Moscow must offer a fair price
for further deliveries, Europe's Energy Commissioner Guenther
Oettinger said ahead of talks with the Russian and Ukrainian
energy ministers in Berlin on Friday.
Oettinger is acting as mediator in the talks, which on
Monday saw the two governments agree to study his proposal that
Ukraine pay Russia $2 billion by Thursday and a further $500
million by June 7.
The commissioner told German radio station Deutschlandfunk
it was now clear how much gas Russia delivered to Ukraine
between November and the end of May.
"The price for the months of January, February, and also
now, is disputed so Ukraine has to explain today that it will
make or has already made a first payment, a significant amount,
a high three-digit million amount in dollars," he said.
"(That is) so that it's clear it is prepared to accept
payment obligations; those who get gas must pay," he added.
Oettinger said the price of $485 per 1,000 cubic metres of
gas that Russia is demanding was "unacceptable", not in line
with market conditions and determined by politics. Ukraine
insists on a price of $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters.
In return for Ukraine making a down-payment, Russia has to
give the former Soviet republic a fair price in line with the
amount paid by other European countries, he said.
"After Ukraine has made a down-payment, we should expect
Russia to guarantee a fair offer, a fair price in future."
In the medium-term the EU would be affected by Russia
stopping delivery to Ukraine, Oettinger said. Russia supplies
around a third of Europe's gas demand and about half of its gas
imports from Russia flow through Ukraine.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Stephen Brown)