Russia squeezes Ukraine with gas price hike

April 01, 2014 | Eastern Europe & Russia, Pipelines

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Russia – Russian Federation gas supply giant Gazprom said Tuesday it cancelled discounts on natural gas supplies to Ukraine.

“In the second quarter of 2014, price of gas supplied to Ukraine will be 385.5 U.S. dollars (for 1,000 cubic meters),” Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told reporters.

Miller noted that Gazprom would not apply the discount agreed with Kiev last December any more.

“Discount has been cancelled due to Ukrainian side’s non-fulfilment of its debt obligations and non-payments in full for the current supplies, which further increases the debt,” he said.

Miller said Russia had also increased the gas transit fees through Ukrainian pipeline system to Europe by 10 percent.

According to Gazprom, Ukraine’s accumulated debt for gas supplies amounted to 1.71 billion dollars by the end of March.

In December 2013, Moscow and Kiev signed a deal envisaging cutting prices for Russian gas to 268.5 dollars from 400 dollars. Under the deal, its prolongation is not done by default and both sides should extend it every three months.

In 2010, Russia and Ukraine inked a “gas for fleet” agreement, with Moscow offering a discount for gas in exchange for extending its lease of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea for another 25 years.

Last week, the Kremlin announced a plan to cancel the discount, saying the pact no longer valid as Crimea joined Russia after a referendum last month.

The Russian parliament also terminated four agreements with Ukraine over the Black Sea fleet on Monday.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian delegation plans to visit Moscow on Thursday to hold talks on the country’s $1.7 billion debt for natural gas owed to Russia’s Gazprom, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Tuesday.

“Our delegation will arrive in Moscow on Thursday and will discuss the issue,” Prodan said.

The minister earlier announced a meeting this week between the new head of Ukraine state gas company Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolyov, and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, saying that Kiev plans to discuss the price for imported gas, as well as the payment for the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe.