Russia sees some gas debt paid by Ukraine

Kiev pays $786 million for outstanding bills.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   June 2, 2014 at 7:52 AM
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MOSCOW, June 2 (UPI) -- Payments for gas deliveries in February and March were made by the Ukrainian government, averting a disruption, the Russian Energy Ministry said Monday.

The Ukrainian government announced the payment Friday and a spokesman for the Russian Energy Ministry confirmed its receipt in a statement to state news agency RIA Novosti.

"The Russian energy ministry confirms it had received $786 million in two payments, intended [to cover deliveries] in February and March," he said.

The debt payment follows a round of trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union.

EU member states rely on Russia for about a quarter of their gas needs and similar disputes in 2006 and 2009 left European consumers without gas as much of those supplies run through a Soviet-era pipeline network in Ukraine.

Alexei Miller, chief executive of Russian energy company Gazprom, said his company would postpone the start of a pre-payment period for Ukraine until June 9 to give Ukraine time to settle its May debt.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last week all parties could move forward in good faith provided Ukraine agreed to settle debts from last year totaling at least $2 billion.

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