Ukraine hopes Russia will not change gas price

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Eduard Stavytsky Reuters. Acting Ukraine Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky.

Kiev/Moscow - Ukraine hopes the price it pays for Russian gas will not change, Acting Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky said on Monday, following the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich as president.

“We hope that the price (of Russian gas) will be stable,” Stavytsky told Reuters by telephone.

Russia agreed in December to reduce the gas price for Kiev to $268.50 per 1,000 cubic metres, a cut of about one third from around $400 which Ukraine had paid since 2009.

The reduction was part of a wider financial deal Moscow signed with Kiev after Ukraine spurned an EU trade deal.

Two Gazprom sources told Reuters the company had no immediate plans of returning to the previous gas price for Kiev, which is seeking around $35 billion in foreign assistance over the next two years.

“But this is not Gazprom to decide,” one of the sources said.

A Gazprom official declined to comment on the issue of price but said gas transit to Europe, which is getting around a quarter of its gas needs from Russia, is being pumped “in full volumes”.

The last dispute over gas pricing between Russia and Ukraine caused shortages in Europe over the winter of 2009.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has so far been silent on events in Ukraine, keeping the question of the gas price - and the wider deal to offer $15 billion in Russian aid to Ukraine - open.

Ukraine consumes about 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year, and more than half of this amount is imported from Russia. Gazprom exported 161.5 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe last year. - Reuters

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