Ukraine wants Russian gas contract changed

Russian envoy sees forward momentum despite hangup.

Daniel J. Graeber

KIEV, Ukraine, June 11 (UPI) -- As disputes drag on, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Wednesday he was questioning a discount offered by Russia for natural gas.

Ukraine, before political upheaval in November pushed it closer to the European Union, was paying $268 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, the standard purchase volume. Russia later suspended the discount and changed the price to $485.50. It has now offered a $100 discount from that price.


Yatsenyuk said Wednesday he was frustrated with Russian changing the price terms at a whim.

"The contract [itself] must be changed," he said.

European countries get about a quarter of their gas needs met by Russia, though most of those supplies run through a Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine. Price disputes in 2006 and 2009 resulted in Russian energy company Gazprom cutting gas supplies briefly through Ukraine.

Members of the European Union met Russian and Ukrainian delegates this week in Brussels in an effort to resolve the row. All parties to the discussions have said there would be no changes to gas deliveries so long as talks were ongoing.

Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian envoy to the EU, said Wednesday the talks have a good chance of success.


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