The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said on Monday he expected Ukraine to pay in full for December gas shipments and did not foresee a repeat of earlier gas rows after Jan. 1, according to Reuters UK.
Chief executive Alexei Miller effectively backtracked from remarks last week, when he described the situation in Ukraine regarding payments for December deliveries as very alarming.
In January 2006 and 2009, Europe, which receives 25 percent of gas from Russia, was cut off from the gas imports it receives through Ukraine because of pricing rows between Moscow and Kiev.
On Monday, the Gazprom head said Ukraine has increased gas purchases recently due to cold weather and forthcoming price rises in 2010, contradicting his early statement that Ukraine reduced the off-take.
"But we believe that Ukraine will pay in full even for the increased volumes," he said after a ceremony, which marked a launch of new Russian Pacific oil port.
"We don`t expect any conflicts and collision during New Year," he added.
Ukraine has been regularly paying its gas bills this year, but the December bill, due before Jan. 11, is expected to soar to $1 billion from $770 million in November due to increased demand because of cold weather.