Business

Ukraine and Russia reach gas 'consensus'

  • 24 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Andriy Kobolev Image copyright Getty Images

Ukraine and Russia have "found consensus" on a deal to end their gas dispute, according to the boss of Ukraine's state gas firm.

Andriy Kobolev told the BBC Naftogaz was prepared to settle part of its debts, while the two parties had agreed a price for gas this winter.

But he did accuse Gazprom, Russia's state energy company, of wanting to "create another crisis".

Russia halted supplies to Ukraine in June over unpaid bills.

Ukraine refused to pay after Russia sharply raised its gas prices.

Talks between the two parties and the European Commission have been taking place this week, while further negotiations are scheduled for next week.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated after the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in February and Russia's subsequent support for separatists in Crimea and other Ukrainian regions.

'Major issue'

"We have found consensus on all elements of the deal," Mr Kobolev said.

"Ukraine has made a gesture of good faith and is prepared to settle part of [its outstanding bills]."

He added that while a compromise had been reached on winter pricing, a "major issue" remained unresolved.

"Ukraine would like to see a binding agreement that provides for [pricing] arrangements to be fixed for six months."

So far, Mr Kobolev said, Gazprom had refused to sign any such agreement.

"In April, Gazprom almost doubled its prices, and we are afraid this can happen in the future," he said.

The Naftogaz boss denied claims that Ukraine had siphoned off gas passing through the country on its way to the rest of Europe in order to make up shortfalls in its own supply.

"This winter we believe the whole idea of Gazprom is to create another crisis and then they will be able to accuse us of anything," he said.

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