Russia Extends Ukraine’s Gas Payment Deadline

Signs of Progress in Negotiations After Friday Payment

Cooler heads seem to be prevailing in the ongoing natural gas dispute between Russian giant Gazprom and the Ukrainian government, and Russian officials have confirmed Gazprom has delayed a June 9 deadline for prepayment as talks continue.

Ukraine owes Gazprom several billion dollars for past shipments, and after the ouster of the Yanukovych government Russia cut long-standing discounted pricing to Ukraine. Between that and the continued non-payment, there was a real danger Ukraine could have faced a shutoff on June 9. potentially disrupting supplies to the rest of Europe from Russia, which go through the same pipelines.

Ukraine’s interim government was adamant about not paying, but on Friday the state natural gas monopoly paid Gazprom $786 million to cover gas supplies from February and March.

Disputes over pricing (Ukraine still wants the discounted rate) remain to be resolved in future negotiations, but Gazprom’s willingness to let the June 9 deadline slide suggests there is growing confidence that a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.