AMBASADA FEDERAŢIEI RUSE ÎN ROMÂNIA
“30” mai 2009
STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN
On June 7, 2009 Ukraine is due to make another payment for Russian natural gas, which is being supplied for domestic consumption and for underground depots. Talks indicate that Ukraine may find it difficult to meet this financial commitment. This is increasing the risk of new setbacks in the transit of Russian gas to European consumers.
Looking for a way out of the predicament, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko suggested that Russia make a five to seven year advance payment of about five billion dollars for the transit of gas to Europe. Ukrainians have to pay about that much for Russian gas supplies.
Implementation of this proposal seems unlikely for at least three reasons.
First, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko recently referred to this option as illegal.
Second, the joint EU-Ukrainian declaration on upgrading the Ukrainian gas transport network, signed on March 23, 2009 in Brussels, provides for a considerable change in the organisation of the Ukrainian gas complex. In other words, we do not know for certain with whom Gazprom will execute gas supply contracts for Ukraine and for the securing of transit to European consumers.
Third, the global crisis, along with a drop in gas prices and sales will make it difficult to stockpile five billion dollars.
Since Ukraine has voiced doubts in its ability to make the payments for natural gas, we have informed our partners of a potential problem, resorting to the early warning mechanism set up between Russia and the European Union (EU) on potential energy system setbacks. I sent messages to the EU leaders --President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus, and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. I also discussed gas supplies via Ukraine, including ways of resolving the problem in a telephone conversation with Mr Barroso today.
Judging by the reaction of these European leaders, the EU is unable to render the required financial aid to Ukraine. They made references to the acute economic crisis and the EU's internal rules and procedures.
Having warned our European partners about the threat to Europe's energy security, we have declared our willingness to shoulder part of the responsibility of the financial burden in resolving the problem. However, I would like to emphasize that Russia does not intend to subsidize the Ukrainian economy single-handedly. We are hoping that the EU will hear our concerns and discuss them very seriously at its forthcoming meeting on June 18-19.
I would also like to make one more remark about the world community's concerted effort to counter the crisis. On May 27, I sent a letter to IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, reaffirming Russia's readiness to invest up to $10 billion in its bonds. These additional resources will expand the fund's potential to deal with the crisis.
At the same time, we are convinced that the funds allocated by Russia should be used primarily to help our CIS neighbours, in particular, to help Ukraine resolve its energy problem. We are grateful to Mr Strauss-Kahn for his initial constructive response.
The Ukrainian Government has been informed about the essence of our proposals to the IMF and our European partners.
To conclude, I would like to emphasize once again that the impending problem of Ukrainian transit is very serious and concerns not only Russia and Ukraine. It concerns an overwhelming majority of European countries, and should be resolved with a common effort, and with full understanding of the responsibility involved. I hope that this sober and pragmatic logic will gain an upper hand.
May 29, 2009
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