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27 May, 2009 06:57

Ukraine gas aid in focus as energy talks continue

Russia and the European Union will continue talks next week about financial aid to Ukraine, to ensure stable gas supplies.

Russia's Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told RT the EU has not decided whether to take part in the $5 billion loan.

SS: “The EU has no adequate estimation of the problems that may occur with the stability of gas supplies in the coming winter. We are concerned that Ukraine won’t keep to the schedule of filling its gas storages. This may result in serious problems with gas supplies to Europe next winter. Besides we hear more often President Yushanko’s calls to review the current gas contracts. These risks are very high for Russia and we want to share them with our European partners. We will continue negotiations and in summer we will have a clear understanding of what to do.”

RT: What part of this $5 billion intended for Ukraine is Russia ready to finance?

SS: “I think it’s a commercial issue and Gazprom should take a decision according to the profitability of gas supplies and the structure of their expenses. I think we can take a significant part of this financial burden. But it’s very important for Russia that an international pool of investors or European financial institutions organize this financing. Russia wants to take part in it but doesn’t want to be the one responsible for the whole situation.”

RT: The EU Parliament voted for the 3rd energy pact, how this can influence the realization of the South Stream pipeline project?

SS: “Russia considers the third energy pact as discriminatory. We see risks in it for the operations of Russian companies on the European market. We discussed this issue quite sincerely at the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk. We are going to insist that the realization of this pact should not limit the activity of our companies in Europe.”