BRUSSELS, May 13 (UPI) -- Ukraine can use recently-acquired European Union financial assistance to pay its debt to purchase natural gas from Russia.
"This (the funding) is support for the Ukrainian budget with a view to make the necessary payments in the energy sector," said Simon O'Connor, spokesman for the European commission on economic and monetary affairs, on Tuesday.
Ukraine has not provided a payment for Russian gas for two months, protesting a sudden hike in its gas costs on Apr. 1, when Russia eliminated two major and relied-upon discounts, from $268.50 per thousand cubic meters to $485 per thousand cubic meters.
A Ukrainian delegation will discuss gas prices this week in Brussels with EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger, and will sign an agreement for another 1 billion Euros ($1.37 billion) in aid from the EU.