Russian Switch to Prepayment Gas Supplies to Ukraine Only Possible Step

MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) — Head of the Russian State Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Alexei Pushkov said Monday the transition to pre-payment gas supplies for Ukraine was the only possible step on Russian behalf.

“The introduction of pre-payment for Kiev is the only possible step. It should have been introduced a month ago. Let Yatsenyuk get shale gas from the US,” Pushkov wrote in his Twitter, referring to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Russian gas giant Gazprom implemented a prepayment plan for the delivery of Russian fuel to Ukraine’s Naftogaz at 10:00 a.m. local time (06:00 a.m. GMT) on Monday after putting it off several times this month. The company’s statement said Naftogaz’ arrears for Russian gas deliveries stood at $4.458 billion.

Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia has been building up since 2013 as the country found itself amid a deep political crisis. Naftogaz’ discounted rate was scrapped in April after Kiev failed to deliver on its debt, which now accumulates at a rate of some $1 billion per month.

Starting Monday, the Ukrainian company will only receive the amount of gas it will have paid for in advance. No payments have been received for June preliminary bill, yet. The latest price proposed by Russia stands at $385, which is the average market price Gazprom offered Kiev after axing a deal to subsidize gas exports to Ukraine.

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