MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine owes Russia $2.7 billion for supplies of natural gas last year and payment is due by January 25, Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom said Thursday.
“The debt will be settled on the basis of the old price, as the new price became effective on January 1,” a Gazprom spokesman said.
“It is possible that Ukraine will ask to postpone the payment,” the official said.
Gazprom expects to supply up to 40 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine in 2014, he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart in Moscow on December 17 that Russia will temporarily sell gas to Ukraine’s Naftogaz energy company for $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters, well below the previous level of more than $400.
Putin’s deal with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to reduce gas prices and provide $15 billion in loans marked a decisive restoration of ties between Ukraine and Russia, which had been strained by Kiev’s previously stated intention to seek a closer economic relationship with the EU.
Ukraine stunned Europe in November by announcing that it was giving up pursuit of an association agreement and trade pact with the EU, favoring ties with the Moscow-led Customs Union trade bloc instead.
The decision prompted mass protests in the country leading to the current political crisis and violent clashes between police and opposition activists.