Ukraine to pay $1.3 bln gas debt to Russia by Nov.1-Gazprom

16:05, 03 October 2007
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Alexei Miller and Yuriy Boiko met today

Gazprom`s CEO and Ukraine`s fuel and energy minister agreed on Wednesday that Ukraine would repay its $1.3 billion gas debt by November 1, the Russian energy giant said, according to RIA Novosti.

Alexei Miller and Yuriy Boiko met after Gazprom threatened on Tuesday to cut supplies to Ukraine in October if the country failed to settle the debt. The situation was reminiscent of a bitter price row in early 2006, when Moscow briefly cut off exports to its former Soviet ally stirring European consumers` concerns.

"An agreement was reached that Ukraine`s current government will take the problem under its control and ensure payment of the debt before November 1," Gazprom`s press office said.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and chairman of Gazprom`s board of directors, who also attended the meeting said the parties had agreed to avoid similar problems in the future, and that European consumers would not be affected.

Ukraine`s first deputy prime minister and finance minister said earlier on Wednesday that his country had no state debt for Russian natural gas supplies. "I want to declare unequivocally ... that Ukraine has no debts to Gazprom," Mykola Azarov said.

Gazprom explained later Wednesday that the debt in question was owed by Ukrainian consumers.

Gazprom`s threat came following preliminary reports that pro-Western "orange" parties have secured enough votes in Sunday`s early parliamentary elections

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