Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine undertook to bring domestic prices of natural gas to the level of those on the international market way back in 2008, which was stipulated in a document signed by the then prime minister.

"Do you remember when the relevant Memorandum with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was signed? On October 31, on the very same day, but in 2008. Exactly ten years ago. It is strange that the opposition does not celebrate that 'solemn' date," the presidential press service quoted him as saying at a meeting with Ukrainian and foreign businesspeople in Kyiv on October 31. "The International Monetary Fund was then headed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn. And I will not say who was the Prime Minister at that time. It sounds like 'Cherchez la femme' in French."

"It is worth noting that the obligation to equalize internal and external gas prices – the price of domestic and the price of imported gas, was undertaken by Ukraine when, for example, the head of the current government, Volodymyr Groysman, was the mayor of Vinnytsia and was dealing with the issues of trams and utility offices, not gas," Poroshenko said.

He also recalled that those commitments had been made to receive large-scale support from the IMF. "54 billion dollars. This is the total debt inherited from today's truth seekers in 2007-2013, when they had power," Poroshenko said.

"However, such obligations are absolutely non-personal. They are of internationally binding by nature. The state has made the commitment – we must fulfill it," he added.

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That is why the government, acting within its competence and responsibility, has decided to raise tariffs "to continue cooperation with the Fund (IMF)," Poroshenko said.

The president once again stressed that the current state of the economy would already allow Ukraine to do without borrowing. "Let me stress – if it was not for the peak payments on old loans that must be handled in 2019," he added.

The president said that "the only free cheese is in the mouse trap, and cheap gas is in Russia's cage, and this is the only way to fulfill the promise of halving gas tariffs."

As UNIAN reported, Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers from November 1 raised the price of gas for the population by 23.5%, to UAH 8,550, or US$304, per 1,000 cubic meters.

The respective Cabinet resolution was published on the Ukrainian government's portal on October 27.

The price of gas for the population before the increase was UAH 4,942 (about US$175) per 1,000 cubic meters without VAT and transportation costs. It was UAH 6,958 (about US$247) if all taxes and costs are included.

The price of natural gas for households is a subject of negotiations between Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund, which insists that the gas price should be raised to the level of import parity.