MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian natural gas producer Gazprom said on Wednesday Kiev owed it $174.2 million for gas supplied to eastern Ukraine since the beginning of the year.
Gazprom’s chief executive officer, Alexei Miller, said there had been no agreement on who should pay for the supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine’s eastern regions, which are held by pro-Russian separatists.
“The issue should became the subject of special talks, and we think that it’s rational to study the possibility of signing a separate direct Gazprom contract on supplies to the southeast,” he said without elaborating.
Gas spats between Kiev and Moscow have led to the interruption of Russian gas supplies to Europe where Russian gas covers around a third of demand.
Russian gas supplies to Ukraine’s rebel-controlled regions totaled 554.6 million cubic meters of gas year-to-date as of April 21.
Kiev has refused to pay for Russian gas supplied directly to the regions as it is powerless to control the flows.
Russia has agreed to extend gas price discounts for Ukraine into the second quarter after a so-called “winter package” expired.
Miller said Gazprom had received $75.85 million from Ukrainian state company Naftogaz in prepayment for April and for part of March supplies. In the 20 days of April Gazprom supplied the Ukrainian firm with 180.7 million cubic meters of gas.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by Elizabeth Piper