Ukraine hit with $7 billion gas bill

AFP-JIJI

Russian giant Gazprom has slapped Ukraine’s state gas firm Naftogaz with an unexpected $7 billion bill for gas it had not bought last year, a source in the Ukrainian firm said Saturday.

Media reports said the amount claimed by Russia’s state natural gas supplier corresponded with a quantity of gas Ukraine should have imported in 2012 according to the contract between the two sides. A source at Naftogaz said Ukraine had already settled all payments for gas imported in 2012. But the contract between Kiev and Moscow theoretically provides for a delivery of 52 billion cu. meters of gas and calls on Ukraine to pay for a large part of that, even if the country does not use all the gas.

Ukraine, which until last year was the main transit country for gas from Russia to Europe, has for months been trying to negotiate lower gas prices with Gazprom, so far in vain.