Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz will pay for Russian gas on time, Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said on Wednesday. Russia recently warned of new gas crisis with Ukraine and urged the European Union (EU) to lend Kiev money.
“Of course we will be paying on time. At the moment Naftogaz is putting together the resources to pay up for gas by the deadlines foreseen in the contract,” Prodan told a news conference.
He said the October bill, which must be settled by Nov. 7, amounted to USD 460 million and that Naftogaz had various financial resources including “its domestic activities and also domestic bonds” that could be sold to the central bank.
Six days ago, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko of blocking the transfer of funds to pay for Russian gas.
Russia supplies a quarter of the EU’s gas needs, with 80 percent of it pumped through Ukrainian pipelines. Russia cut off gas shipments to Ukraine for nearly two weeks in January over disputes on pricing and transition fees.