Ukrainian deputy PM says new gas row with Russia unlikely
Due to the stable financial state of Naftogaz
Ukraine`s first deputy prime minister said Friday a new gas crisis between Ukraine and Russia was unlikely due to the stable financial state of the country`s Naftogaz gas monopoly, RIA Novosti reported.
"The financial state of Naftogaz remains stable, and there is no basis for the emergence of another gas crisis in our relations with Russia," the Ukrainian government press service quoted Oleksandr Turchinov as saying.
Earlier on Friday, a source in the Russian delegation at a session of the council of CIS prime ministers in Kazakhstan said Russian energy giant Gazprom had transferred to Naftogaz an advance payment for gas transit for 2009, and did not rule out a new gas crisis this winter.
The Russian source explained that Naftogaz had no money to buy the gas required for summer pumping into underground storage facilities, saying this could mean that Naftogaz won`t be able to meet its commitments on Russian gas transit to European consumers this winter.
Russia`s president said Friday the EU should consider giving Kiev a loan to ensure that natural gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine are uninterrupted.
Speaking at a news conference after a Russia-EU summit in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine needs to pump some 19.5 billion cubic meters of gas, worth over $4 billion, into its underground storage facilities.
Ukraine has asked Russia for a $5 billion loan, but Turchinov said Thursday that there had been no official response from Moscow. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin said Wednesday that no decision had been made.
Following a recent dispute between Russia and Ukraine that halted Russian deliveries via Ukraine for almost two weeks, causing energy shortages in a number of European states, energy security has become a more important issue in EU-Russia relations.