Ukraine Refutes Reports of Gazprom Debt Deal

European Commissioner for Energy, German Guenther Oettinger and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan (L) attended talks in Berlin aimed at solving Gazprom and Naftogaz's debt dispute. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Ukrainian Economy Minister Yuriy Prodan said "no progress" had been registered in negotiations with Russia over Kiev's debt for gas supplies.

His comments, which were later echoed by Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz, followed his Russian counterpart Aleksander Novak and EU Energy Commissioner Gunter Oettinger's announcement that a temporary agreement had been reached and Ukraine would pay USD 2 B to Gazprom this week.

Prodan insisted "no breakthrough" had been observed during talks held between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission in Berlin on Monday.

He added he "could not confirm" that Kiev would transfer the sum, thus putting earlier reports of progress into question.

Ukraine and Russia are embroiled in a dispute over pricing regime for the gas Kiev receives, as Moscow announced in April a sum that was 80% higher than the previous one.

On Tuesday Kiev added fuel to the fire by claiming that Russia had stolen some 2.2 bcm of gas from the Crimean peninsula since it absorbed the region in March.

Ukrainain authorities demanded an explanation by Moscow, which decided to seize the assets of Crimea-based Chernomorsknaftegaz short before the peninsula held a referendum on joining Russia.

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