MOSCOW, June 4 (RIA Novosti) — Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz continue to hold Wednesday the talks aiming at the settlement of the gas issue, said Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan.
"The talks continue today. Regarding the request of the Russian side they [the talks] are conducted in a bilateral format," Prodan said.
Prodan added that Ukraine had not received the Russian proposal concerning the gas price.
Kiev continues to insist on the price of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. Once the price is set, "we will solve the question of debt, which must be recalculated for the year 2013" accordingly, he said.
The gas price for Ukraine surged from $268.5 to $485.50 per 1,000 cubic meters in April after Russia annulled two discounts granted previously to the country. Kiev keeps rejecting the new price saying it was ready to clear its debt if Moscow agreed to sell gas at the old price.
Russia said it would only consider lowering the price of gas to Kiev after it paid off its gas debt of $2.2 billion by June 9, covering overdue bills from November to April at the Ukraine's preferred price.
Kiev has recently paid Gazprom $786.4 billion, which Prodan said was the only undisputed part of debt.
The European Union's Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger put Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia at $4 billion, up from the previous figure of $3.5.
Gazprom said Ukraine would owe Russia about $5.2 billion by June 7 unless it paid by that date.
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Military exercises are held in order to prevent a war rather than prepare for one. If a potential enemy knows and sees that the Russian Army is constantly improving its skills and adopting state-of-the-art combat equipment and combat support systems he will hardly risk aggression against these Armed Forces and the country they defend.