Ukraine will only consume as much Russian gas as necessary

Ukraine will only consume the amount of Russian gas needed for housing and utilities, the national economy and preparations for winter, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told journalists on Saturday in the town of Rodnikovoye, in the Simferopol district of the Crimea.

"We will consume only as much gas as is needed for our housing and utilities sector, the national economy and preparations for winter, and not one billion [cubic meters] more. And the amount that was fixed in that scandalous contract [the 2009 gas contract] - let it be on the conscience of those from the Ukrainian side who signed the contract," he said.

At the same time, Azarov said he was convinced that Ukraine will be able to strike an agreement with Russia regarding volumes of gas procurements. "We'll figure it out. Negotiations with the Russian side at the presidential level are coming up on July 12. Recently I had negotiations with my Russian colleague. We'll find a common language on all issues, so there's no need to worry," he said.

Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Boyko previously told journalists that the Cabinet of Ministers in June approved a forecast balance for natural gas receipt and distribution for this year, taking into account Naftogaz Ukrainy's imports of 27 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas. The document also envisages 8 bcm of natural gas imports by Cyprus-based Ostchem Holding Limited.

Later, Boyko said that Kiev and Moscow had agreed on a gas procurement application for 2013. Asked whether this referred to Ukraine purchasing 27 bcm, he said, "I think that we'll procure even less than that." When journalists asked how Ukraine would react if Russia filed a lawsuit against it for failing to purchase the contracted gas volumes, he said, "They are entitled to this."

Meanwhile, Gazprom (RTS: GAZP) denies that an agreement has been reached to reduce contracted volumes of gas supplies to Ukraine. "No. The contract still provides for an annual contract amount of 52 bcm. There are no agreements to reduce these volumes. We are working strictly under this contract," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told journalists at the end of June, commenting on Ukraine's statement that such agreements had been reached.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.