Yanukovych to seek gas transit guarantees from Russia

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he expected to get guarantees from Moscow that it would transit certain amount of oil and gas via the Ukrainian territory.

The Ukrainian leader told journalists in New York, where he was attending the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, that at the forthcoming talks in Moscow he planned to discuss “joining our efforts in fuel supplies to Europe and the possibility of Ukraine to get guarantees that certain amounts of oil and gas will be transported via the Ukrainian territory.”

Yanukovych, who will arrive in Moscow on a working visit on Saturday, also said that modernization of old pipelines and the construction of new gas routes should be discussed together with all parties involved, “including [the countries] where the fuel is extracted and [European] consumers.”

“I mean Russia, Caspian states and Central Asia, and Europe, which is the consumer,” he said.

Ukraine, which is currently seeking to review gas contracts with Russia, has repeatedly stated that the ongoing discussions will not disrupt Russian gas transit to Europe via the Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine says the 2009 contract’s gas price formula is unfair. Russia has tied the price for gas to the international spot price for oil, which have risen strongly recently since that year due to the instability in the Middle East.

Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko said Ukraine is paying $355 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas during the third quarter of this year and that price is expected to rise to some $400 in the fourth quarter. He said $230 would be a fair price, calculated in line with the price that Germany pays Russia, minus transit fees across Ukrainian territory.

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