KIEV, July 10 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine still needs 6-7 billion cubic meters of gas to survive the cold season and expects to buy it from Russia, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said Thursday.
“At present, we need to buy an additional 6-7 billion cubic meters of gas, because we need gas to go through this [cold] season smoothly,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman told reporters.
“We expect the Russian Federation will sell us this gas,” Hroisman added.
Tuesday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas deliveries for June 1-16 is $838 million, which brings the overall figure to $5.3 billion. Miller also speculated that Ukraine was extremely likely to begin illegally siphoning off Europe-bound gas in the fall, following Russia’s switch to a prepayment system on June 16, due to Naftogaz’ accumulated debt. Ukraine’s Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan responded on Wednesday by saying Kiev had no plans to steal transit gas.
Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine will have to deal with a “full-scale gas crisis” by this fall, if Moscow and Kiev fail to promptly settle their gas dispute.
Ukraine has accumulated 14.2 billion cubic meters of gas in its underground storage facilities. The country needs at least 18.5 cubic meters of gas for the fall and winter heating season and to ensure reliable gas transit to Europe, according to Gazprom estimates.