Russia says too early to speak about new gas price deal with Ukraine

It is too early to speak about any new accords reached between Russia and Ukraine on gas price cuts for the ex-Soviet republic before Moscow and Kiev sign corresponding agreements, the Russian government’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Ukrainian government source said Moscow and Kiev had agreed on a new gas price and would sign an agreement in the next few days but declined to specify the agreed gas price for Ukraine.

“We proceed from the fact that talks are in progress. The accords will culminate in the signing of documents. As it has not been done yet, it is premature to comment on this,” Peskov said.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian business daily Economicheskiye Izvestia quoted a source in the Ukrainian presidential administration as saying that Russia and Ukraine had agreed on the reduction of Russian gas prices for Ukraine to $220-230 per 1,000 cubic meters compared to some $400 that Ukraine has to pay in the fourth quarter.

Gazprom did not comment on this information.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Tuesday Ukraine was planning to save about $6 billion annually after reviewing gas contracts with Russia.

“As soon as we agree on gas prices, we will save an additional $500 million monthly, which is equivalent to $6 billion a year,” Azarov said.

Ukraine has long been seeking to alter the terms of the 2009 gas deal it signed with Russia. The deal ties the price of gas to oil prices, which have risen strongly since 2009, boosting Ukraine’s gas bill. The contract says Ukraine must import no less than 33 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia.

Kiev insists on reducing both the price and the volume of gas imports.


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