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29 Feb, 2008 03:01

Gazprom unhappy with Ukraine's gas debt 'settlement'

Gazprom's CEO Aleksey Miller says there's still no resolution in the issue of Ukraine's gas debt. While Ukraine announced mid-week it had settled the bill for gas supplied in 2007 – it's still not paying for this year's gas. And several other i

The tussle between Russia and Ukraine over gas and related debts rumbles on with no end in sight.

Gazprom upped its threat saying it would axe natural gas deliveries to Ukraine by 25 per cent next week unless outstanding disputes are settled. The company's spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov played down Ukraine's announcement on Wednesday that it had paid its bill for 2007.

“Until now we haven't had an official reply and the documents have not been signed. Meanwhile Ukraine continues to consume Russian gas – at the moment almost two billion cubic meters of Russian gas have been sent to Ukraine – obviously things shouldn't continue like that,” he stressed.

Payment has been held up by a debt dispute between two companies UkrGasEnergo and NaftogasUkraine. And as of 2008, Russia's been supplying gas without any signed contract in place.

Gazprom plans to start dealing with a different middleman.

Two joint ventures between Gazprom and NaftoGaz were planned recently. One company will transport gas to the Ukraine border. The other will sell it domestically.

But no documents have been signed and the project appears to have been stalled by politics.

Ukraine has left itself increasingly vulnerable. No contracts have been signed so far for deliveries of Russian or Central Asian gas which means Ukraine is increasingly dependent on non-contracted gas.

Meanwhile the war of words continues.