Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that the risks regarding Russian natural gas supplies to Europe arose through the fault not of Russia but of Ukraine, which has refused to pay for the supplied gas.
"The situation is paradoxical. While Ukraine recognizes the effective contract signed in 2009, it refuses to pay under it, insisting on allowances not envisaged by the contract," he said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Understanding Ukraine's difficult economic situation, Russia tried to help by granting a $3 billion of credit and a discount for the first quarter of 2014, provided it settles the accumulated debt and pays the current bills, Putin said.
"The debt has not been settled and increased. They stopped paying the current payments altogether, even those with discounts. Where is our money? Where did our multi-billion aid go to?" the Russian president said.
Since the conditions for the discount were not met, Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) reverted to the "full-payment" system, Putin said.
Gazprom gave nearly 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine, which is comparable to gas supplies to Poland, Putin said. "Which one of you would supply goods for free in such quantities and under such conditions?" he asked the invited foreign heads of state.
"There are borders which cannot be crossed. I hope we shall manage to agree," he said, adding that Ukraine wants gas discounts and Russia says: "Pay at least for the period in which the discounts were valid" but Ukraine has refused to pay even that debt, Putin said.
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