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Protocol on Winter Package Gas Deliveries Not Legally Binding: Russian Energy Minister
Friday, 31 October 2014 12:40
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Protocol on Winter Package Gas Deliveries Not Legally Binding: Russian Energy Minister

Updated 4:09 p.m. Moscow Time

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) – The protocol on the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine as part of the "winter package" is not legally binding, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

"The document is not legally binding…It is a declaration of intent and agreement, reached within the framework of trilateral talks. Understandably, it is more of a political document that reflects the main agreements," Novak said.

According to the energy minister, the fulfillment of the agreements will be in line with the current contract between Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz company.

No official documents proving that Ukraine has enough financial resources to prepay gas deliveries have been presented to Russia yet, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.

"Concerning the debt, the Ukrainian side has received money in the amount of $3.1 billion from the IMF. There are confirmations," Novak said.

"As for prepayment for November-December supplies, we have no concrete documents proving Naftogaz has the money. However, officials we trust assured us that they will find the money to provide prepayment of gas in November and December amounting to 4 billion rubles," the minister added.

"As we were told, this is the money from the international financial organizations, from the European Union which will additionally provide [finances], and Naftogaz' own resources, which were redistributed in the current budget, and 2015 budget," he said adding that the source of money is far less important than the presence of the money," Novak said.

The Ukrainian side is interested to implement the agreements reached during the Thursday gas talks in Brussels as soon as possible, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

"The date is not clear," Novak said commenting on the possible timing of the first tranche payment.

"We understand that the Ukrainian side is interested to do that as soon as possible because it is getting colder and winter is coming. It is in the interests of the country [Ukraine] to transfer money and to fulfill yesterday agreements," the minister added.

Russian Energy Minister on Friday praised the role of the European Commission in the Thursday gas talks that resulted in the signing of protocols between Moscow and Kiev.

"The European Commission played a positive role in the efforts aimed at seeking a compromise that was reached yesterday and then signed into protocols. Also, in the search for financial resources together with the Ukrainian partners. We were told and assured yesterday that Ukraine has money not only to clear the $3.1 debt but also to purchase the gas on a prepayment basis in November and December, which would amount to about 4 billion cubic meters of gas," Novak said.

On Thursday, following months of talks, Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission signed a deal securing gas deliveries to Ukraine during the winter months. The agreement stipulates that Russia resumes gas supplies to Ukraine and gives Kiev a $100 discount on the price it pays per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, according to the so-called winter package. In turn, Ukraine must pay $3.1 billion out of more than $5 billion that it owes Russia by the end of 2014.

Earlier on Friday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that the Russian energy giant would be able to start gas deliveries to Ukraine within 48 hours once Kiev makes the first payment of $1.45 billion.

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