Ukraine gives new payment pledge for Russian May gas
Naftogaz will make payment in full and on time
Senior Ukrainian officials on Wednesday gave new assurances that state energy firm Naftogaz would make payment in full and on time for May`s imports of Russian gas. "Naftogaz will fulfil its obligations in full," Acting Finance Minister Ihor Umansky told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, Reuters reported.
Payment for Russian imports has been a focus of attention since the two sides clinched a supply deal in January to end a three-week cutoff of supplies that left hundreds of thousands of European consumers without gas.
Under the terms of that deal, Ukraine is to complete payment for monthly imports by the seventh day of the following month.
No disruption in the payment timetable has so far been recorded.
Fuel and Energy Ministry Yuri Prodan, also speaking to reporters, said "about an additional $500 million" was still to be paid, but gave no details on the size of the entire bill for May gas and the volumes supplied.
"There is still time before the 7th. I believe the money will be found," he said.
But Russian officials have repeatedly questioned Naftogaz`s solvency. And the two neighbours have so far failed to reach agreement on financial conditions for supplying gas to be kept in underground storage facilities in Ukraine to guarantee transit to Europe.