(Gazprom Charges Ukraine $11.4b Before EU Gas Talks – Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – 4.24.14)
Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom is attempting to charge Ukraine billions of dollars for not purchasing more gas from Russia, just as Ukraine seeks to negotiate with European partners for gas supplies from other sources:
OAO Gazprom (OGZD), Russia’s state gas exporter, presented Ukraine with an additional $11.4 billion bill for fuel it promised to buy last year, increasing pressure on the government in Kiev as the prospect of supply cuts looms. … According to the terms of a 2009 contract, Ukraine owes a total of $18.4 billion under take-or-pay clauses, where customers must pay for gas whether they use it or not, President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month.
Ukraine promises to oppose the demands, as it also seeks gas supplies elsewhere. Presently Ukraine has been getting about half of its gas from Russia.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said … Gazprom’s demands [are] ‘unjustified’ … Ukraine is ready to fight them in court. Ukraine informed the Russian state gas exporter ‘in time’ about its gas requirements, he [said]… .
Ukraine … getting an international bailout to stave off default, met [EU] and Slovakian officials … to discuss buying more gas from the rest of the continent. Ukraine gets about half its gas from Russia… .