Ukraine to ask EU, US for help paying for Russian gas: PM

 Ukraine`s prime minister said Thursday he would ask the United States and Germany for help paying Kiev`s gas debt to Moscow so that Russia could resume supplies.

AFP| Updated: Oct 30, 2014, 19:23 PM IST

Kiev: Ukraine`s prime minister said Thursday he would ask the United States and Germany for help paying Kiev`s gas debt to Moscow so that Russia could resume supplies.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting he planned to speak to US Vice President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel later Thursday as EU-mediated negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian energy officials continue in Brussels.

Yatsenyuk said he would discuss the provision of "additional financial instruments for Ukraine that would help stabilise the budget and pay our energy bills."

Several acrimonious rounds of gas talks have failed to resolve a dispute stemming from Kiev`s refusal to pay a higher rate imposed by Moscow in the wake of the February ouster of Ukraine`s Kremlin-backed president.

Russia`s state energy holding company Gazprom cut Ukraine`s gas deliveries in June -- the third such interruption in less than 10 years.

The halt did not immediately impact European clients that receive about half their Russian shipments through Ukraine.

But EU nations fear that Ukraine -- its fuel supplies running critically low heading into the winter -- may be forced out of desperation to tap into the gas it transports westwards.

The two sides have reached a tentative price deal that would see Russia lower its demands by about 20 percent to $385 (302 euros) per 1,000 cubic metres for the coming six months.

But a final agreement has stalled over Moscow`s insist that Brussels and Kiev agree on how Ukraine will pay off a debt of $3.1 billion (2.5 billion euros) by the end of the year.

Ukraine has already asked for an additional EU loan of 2.0 billion euros. Brussels has yet to formally approve the request.

Moscow and Kiev disagree over the size of Ukraine`s full debt to Russia as well as the repayment schedule.

Moscow calculates the debt according to the gas price it demanded from Kiev`s new pro-Western leaders after the February overthrow of the old regime.

Yatsenyuk said on Thursday that Ukraine was only willing to pay the debts calculated according to a reduced rate of $268 per 1,000 cubic metre of gas.