Official: Ukraine to Pay for Gas It Uses

DAVOS, Switzerland — Ukraine will pay for all the Russian natural gas it uses, the country's economy minister, Arsenii Yatsenkiuk, said Friday.

He also denied that the country was stealing from pipelines that cross the country, carrying about 25 percent of Europe's gas supplies.

"The situation has returned to normal," he told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos. "Gas is flowing, and at the end of the month, Russia will calculate how much gas has traveled through Ukraine, and we will calculate how much gas we have used."

Russia's natural gas monopoly OAO Gazprom said Thursday that Ukraine had siphoned off 326 million cubic meters of natural gas over the past week.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yuri Yekahanurov said earlier that the country had increased its gas consumption as a cold snap gripped eastern Europe.

Ukraine's state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz earlier this week also acknowledged taking more gas than planned, but said that total January imports would be unchanged.

Accusations of gas theft follow a fight over pricing earlier this month that saw Russia cut off all gas deliveries to Ukraine for two days.

As result of that shut-off and current Ukrainian demands, western European countries have complained about falling import levels.

Source: AP