Ukraine To Seek Higher Gas Transit Fees At Moscow Talks

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov will discuss prices for Russian gas and fees for gas transit through Ukraine to Europe at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Azarov said on Monday.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

Ukraine wants to revise the 2009 gas supply contract signed by the previous Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, claiming the gas pricing formula which linked the price for gas with the international price for oil was unfair, and forced Kiev to overpay since oil prices have risen strongly.

"If our gas price has risen, compensate us our transit rates," Azarov told the Ukrinform news agency.

"Tymoshenko has signed this enslaving formula which provides for the gas price growth but maintains transit fees which were in force then. Thus, Ukraine essentially is making losses without getting compensation linked to a rising price for gas. This is not normal at all," Azarov said.

Moscow says it is satisfied with the contract but is ready to consider Kiev's suggestions.

Russia paid a transit fee of $2.84 for sending 1,000 cubic meters of gas for 100 kilometers through Ukrainian territory in the first quarter of this year, up from $2.70 last year.

Azarov said that Ukraine, which owns Europe's second largest gas transportation system, paid more for gas than Germany or Slovakia, which are located further from Russia.

He said that Ukraine would also seek a discount given the large amounts of gas it buys and the fact Russia uses its underground storages to supply Europe with the blue fuel.

"I am stressing again that we, in our proposals, presume that our countries are strategic partners, we have normal neighborly relations," Azarov said.

Last year Russia cancelled tariffs on gas imports to Ukraine, cutting the price for Ukraine 30 percent in exchange for an agreement to extend Russia's lease on a naval base in Crimea until at least 2042.

Source: RIA Novosti