BRUSSELS, October 31 (RIA Novosti) — The European Commission has agreed to stipulate financial guarantees of payments for Russian gas supplies to Ukraine through March 2015 in an official letter to Kiev, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.
A separate bilateral protocol on gas payment guarantees between the EC and Ukraine was expected to be signed on Thursday as the Russian side considered it a key precondition for implementation of the so-called "winter package" trilateral gas deal.
The protocol, however, was not signed, and EC Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told reporters, following trilateral gas talks in Brussels on Thursday, that the European Union had not provided binding guarantees to Russia.
Following the talks in Brussels, Oettinger said that the EU has not agreed to pay for future gas deliveries to Ukraine and has not guaranteed to pay for the majority of the country's open bills.
"It will all be detailed in a letter from the European Commission to Ukraine. The letter will mention certain financial guarantees, certain agreements between the EC and Ukraine," Miller told reporters in a separate press point.
Miller stressed that Kiev's ability to pay its gas bills has been and will be a concern for Gazprom, as Ukraine has over $5 billion in accumulated gas debt and will have to pre-pay for future deliveries.
“I must say that the major concern during the past two months was Ukraine’s ability to pay. There were no other questions,” Miller said.
On Thursday, Ukraine, Russia and the EU have signed an agreement, outlining conditions for Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine during the winter months. In particular, Kiev agreed to pay $3.1 billion of its debt to Gazprom until the end of 2014 in exchange for resumption of Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine. Kiev also agreed to purchase 4 billion cubic meters of gas on prepayment conditions with $100 per 1,000 cubic meters discount set until March 2015.