Russia offers Ukraine $100 gas 'discount'

June 11, 2014 - 11:46:21 am

KIEV: Russia has offered Ukraine a "discount" of $100 per thousand cubic metres of gas but Kiev has rejected the deal and is seeking a formal change to the rate set in the two sides' contract, Ukraine's prime minister said Wednesday.

"We know these Russian games: a discount is set by a Russian government decision and rescinded by a Russian government decision."

"Our position remains the same, we want a change to the contract," Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.

"All the traps and hooks that Russia is once again laying out for us are unacceptable," he told a government meeting.

"Let us sign an agreement to avoid having to bring this case to court."

Yatsenyuk's comments came moments before the two sides were due to launch a new round of EU-mediated talks in Brussels aimed at averting a Russian gas cut over unpaid bills.

Ukraine has amassed debts of some $4.5 billion, according to Moscow.

But is refusing to pay the bill until Russia reduces the price set in a disputed contract the two sides signed in 2009.

Moscow last year awarded a price rebate for Kiev for its decision to reject a major EU trade pact, lowering the price to $268.50 from $485.50 for 1,000 cubic metres of gas.

But it reintroduced the higher rate for the new pro-Western government that rose to power following the February ouster of the Russian-backed team.

Russia's state natural gas giant Gazprom on Wednesday pushed back the gas cut deadline until June 16 to give the two sides more time to reach a deal. (AFP)