Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to formulate measures that will keep the proposed gas discount to Ukraine for a certain period of time.
"I would ask the government and prime minister to think about how these conditions could be stipulated at the government level ... make them absolutely reliable and unchanging for some time," Xinhua quoted Putin as telling in a government meeting.
He said the conditions proposed by Russia`s energy giant Gazprom to Kiev were "absolutely identical" with those to ousted President Viktor Yanukovych`s government, which was 100 U.S. dollars lower than the contract price.
Meanwhile, Putin said "our Ukrainian partners seem to find that these discounts are not enough and they want more".
"It`s unclear on what grounds ... if it`s so, they are apparently deliberately taking the situation into a deadlock." the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia was ready to offer the discounts despite the fact that they "have a certain toll on us, and a quite painful one".
Meanwhile, if Kiev does not pay its gas debt, Medvedev said, "what it has paid could at any moment turn into an advance form of payment, and then Russia and Ukraine will go to a different stage of relations on the gas issue".
In 2010, Russia and Ukraine signed a gas-for-fleet agreement, under which Moscow offered a discounted gas price in exchange for extending its lease of its Black Sea fleet facility in Crimea for another 25 years.
In April, Moscow declared the pact no longer valid as Crimea joined Russia in March.
Following the announcement, Gazprom cancelled discounts on gas supplies to Ukraine and set a price of 485 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres, which Kiev called overpriced and temporarily suspended gas imports.