SOCHI, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Ukraine have not yet agreed on ways to lower the price of Russian gas regardless of whether Ukraine joins the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
“At present, we cannot officially confirm that any agreement has been reached,” Peskov said.
Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said on Friday that the two countries had reached an agreement under which “the price of Russian gas could be lowered, or, in other words, the gas contract could be revised and taken out of the context of Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union.”
If such agreements are made, they will be made public, Peskov said, adding that negotiations with the Ukrainian side are being held both at the expert and the highest levels.
Russia has invited Ukraine to join the Customs Union, a concession necessary to get a discount on Russian gas. Ukraine has so far refused to do so, saying it just wants a fair deal.
Russia and Ukraine have been in dispute over gas deliveries since the two states signed a contract in 2009. That contract contains a clause stipulating that Ukraine must pay for a set minimum of at least 33.3 billion cubic meters of gas, even if the country didn’t use the entire volume.
The contract also ties the price of gas to that of oil, which has risen sharply since 2009, boosting Ukraine’s gas bill. Kiev claims the contract is unfair, and has insisted on reducing both the price and volume of its gas imports. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year jail sentence for exceeding her authority in signing that deal.