Tags: russia | EU | gas

Russia Ready to Send Gas to Europe: Government

Monday, 12 Jan 2009 08:36 AM

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MOSCOW – Russian energy giant Gazprom is ready to resume gas supplies to the EU "as soon as possible" once Ukraine fulfils conditions on gas transit, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Monday.

"Gazprom is ready and is willing and is insisting on resuming the transit as soon as possible, as soon as Ukraine fulfils conditions on the transit," Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a phone briefing.

"As soon as the transit is ensured, Gazprom will renew the flow immediately," said Putin's spokesman.

Peskov confirmed that Ukraine appeared to have re-signed an accord ending the countries' transit dispute but said this had to be "double checked" due to a lack of confidence between the countries.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared the accord "null and void" late Sunday due to amendments made by Kiev to the same document Russia had approved.

The fact the Ukrainian signatories were only deputies - the deputy prime minister and the deputy head of the Ukrainian state gas company - also gave cause for caution, he added.

"We have received information that in Kiev the terms of reference were re-signed ... The situation will have to be double checked by the Russian side due to a certain lack of confidence," Peskov said.

Peskov also reiterated a key Russian demand Ukraine has previously baulked at, that Ukraine is responsible for providing "technical gas" used to maintain pressure in pipelines and push gas bound for the European Union through the transit system.

"Another issue can arise, the issue of so-called technical gas necessary for ensuring transit. Ukraine is insisting this natural gas has to be supplied by the Russian supplier, by Gazprom, and in our understanding this is not so.

"Russia pays a transit fee to the Ukrainians and this transit fee should include everything necessary for transit," he said.

Peskov also added that he saw a very long road ahead before Kiev and Moscow agree terms on supplying Russian gas to the Ukrainian market after this month's break down in talks.

"Although it's not a problem for the EU, certainly we'll have to walk a very long way and most probably a very complicated way of firstly settling all the debts of the Ukrainian side," Peskov said.

© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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