Russian FM denies Ukraine gas debt was political
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says politics played no part in a deal between Ukraine and Gazprom to settle an unpaid gas bill. He made the statement after Ukraine's Energy Minister agreed to pay $US 1.3 billion dollars of overdue gas costs to t
“Obviously there is no politics behind a situation simply concerning the overdue money not being paid. The matter is now settled, and I see no logic in attempts to politicise the gas topic. We have repeatedly said Russia is a reliable gas supplier. We have not broken a single contract or obligation, and every time somebody tries to accuse us of the opposite, we ask them to name at least one case when we did not follow through on our obligations. They can give no answer to this question,” Mr Lavrov said.
Gazprom says it agreed a timetable for repaying the debt with the Ukrainian Government.
The deal was reached at the same time that the issue was being discussed at a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich in Moscow.
Both sides have agreed the largest part of the debt will be repaid by transferring gas from RosUkrEnergo storage facilities to Gazprom export.
Ukraine has already paid off 100 million dollars over the last week.
Moscow has asked Kiev to oversee the repayment and ensure the debt is cleared in full before November.
On October 2, Gazprom declared it would cut the gas supply to Ukraine if overdue costs of more than 1.3 billion dollars were not paid off in the near future.