Ukraine enjoys cheapest prices for Russian gas

Russian gas prices for Ukraine are lower than for other countries, Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom, said on Tuesday.

“The Ukrainian government is misled about prices of Russian gas supplies for Ukrainian consumers and transit tax,” Miller told reporters.

“The fee for transit through Ukraine is considerably higher than in Germany, Poland and Slovakia, the tax is tied to the gas price, which is considerably lower for Ukrainian consumers than in Poland, Hungary, Turkey and Romania,” he added.

Ukraine has been trying to revise a 2009 agreement with Russian gas giant Gazprom which tied the gas price to the price for oil boosting Kiev’s bill. Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is now on trial for signing it.

Ukraine said last week it would slash purchases of the blue fuel to 27 billion cubic meters in 2012 from 40 bcm this year. However, Gazprom said that under the contract, based on a ‘take-or-pay’ principle, Kiev would have to pay for 33 bcm of gas regardless of actual purchases.

“One gets the impression that Ukraine took a train called “cheap Russian gas” and does not know on what station to make a stop. Such a way may lead to a dead end,” Miller also said, adding that Ukraine had not made any concrete proposals of cooperation, while Russia’s suggestions were the same.

Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the contract must be fulfilled but added that discounts were possible if Kiev joined the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and agreed that acquisition of its Naftogaz energy company by Gazprom.

On Monday, the Ukrainian government said it would spin off transportation, production and sales units off national energy company Naftogaz and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that Ukraine would welcome Russia’s participation in a new natural gas production company.

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