Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes that Russia's decision to increase the price it charges Ukraine for natural gas is "political."
"I do not see any other reason behind Russia's decision to raise the gas price for Ukraine except for this one - political," Yatsenyuk was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian cabinet's secretariat.
The budget deficit of Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy will increase by UAH8.2 billion, or around $750 million at the current exchange rate, to UAH56.254 billion due to Russia resuming its duty on gas for the country, Ukraine's Finance Ministry said on its website.
The price of $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas "is absolutely unacceptable, and the Russian Federation is perfectly aware of that," he said.
"We expect Russia to go even further in the issue of "gas pressure", including by restricting gas shipments to the territory of Ukraine," the premier said.
Russia pledged to grant a $15-billion loan to Ukraine, Yatsenyuk said, adding that $3 billion of this amount had been provided in 2013, and another $2 billion was supposed to be transferred this year to help Ukraine pay off its gas debts to Russia.
"If Russia fulfills its obligations and agrees to provide another $2 billion of this loan, in this case we will be able to pay off $2 billion worth of our debt," he said.
"We will employ all of the political, economic, diplomatic and judicial methods needed to maintain our country's energy security and sort out the issue of gas supplies," Yatsenyuk said. Starting reverse gas supplies to Ukraine from Slovakia could offer a possible solution to this situation, the prime minister said.
The Ukrainian government has repeatedly asked and will continue to ask its European partners "to make their decision concerning reverse gas shipments to Ukraine," he said, adding that in this case Ukraine would have to pay "around $350" per 1,000 cubic meters of gas instead of today's $500.
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