Updated 3:24 p.m. Moscow Time
BRUSSELS, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Ukraine may agree on an interim plan for winter deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine next week, EU Energy Chief said Thursday.
"I hope we will agree on the winter package next week," Gunther Oettinger told reporters.
A three-party ministerial meeting of Russia, the European Commission and Ukraine will be held on Tuesday, October 21.
The talks over Ukraine's gas debt to Russia continue as Kiev is unhappy with the so-called winter package proposed by Moscow and the European Commission during a previous ministerial gas meeting that took place in late September in Berlin.
According to the plan, Ukraine was supposed to repay at least $3.1 billion of its gas debt to Russia before the end of the year and pay in advance for the delivery of five billion cubic meters of gas at a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, with a discount of $100.
Russia initially insisted that Ukraine would pay the first tranche of $2 billion before the start of the deliveries. Later, however, a more flexible schedule for the debt repayment was proposed under which Kiev should pay $1.45 billion in the first installment, with the rest of the debt to be cleared by the year-end.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Ukraine was not willing to make any advanced payment for Russian gas supplies and insisted that payments be made upon delivery.
In June, Russia's energy giant Gazprom was forced to introduce a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine due to Kiev's massive debt, which is currently estimated at $5.3 billion.