January 1, in an interview to reporters, Victor Yushchenko said Ukrainian consumers would not be affected by today’s reduction in Russian gas supplies, presidential press office reported.

“We want to say that Ukraine has gas and we can tell our citizens today that they will not be without gas,” he stressed and added that at his recent meeting with specialists and experts they had discussed mechanisms to find 120 mln cubic meters of gas per day, which Ukraine no longer receives from Russia, in our reserve.

“We would like to send messages to the municipal system, local administrations and industries to sparingly consume gas before the issue is settled,” Yushchenko said.

“I want to say that no individual will suffer,” he promised and then noted that citizens should unite.

The Head of State refuted all accusations made by “certain Russian institutions” as groundless, but said Ukraine intended to continue its gas talks with Russia.

“I would like to officially say that Ukraine has never given up the talks and will never do that. I would like to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to give relevant political directives to Gazprom to resume the negotiations,” Yushchenko said.

The President reiterated that Russia’s proposed price rise was unacceptable as “economically ungrounded.”

“It cannot be discussed,” he said, adding that this increase might be considered to indicate “discrimination against Ukrainian consumers because Ukraine’s neighbors receive gas at cheaper prices.”

Yushchenko also opined that the two sides should invoke a moratorium on the price rise “to conduct a roundtable for specialists” and said Ukraine was ready to pay a price formulated at these talks. He reiterated that it was necessary to depoliticize the issue.

“You understand that they began cutting gas supplies on December 31, violating all previous agreements on transit and supplies of Russian gas. We regard it as blatant economic pressure,” he said.

The President stressed that Russia had thus failed to fulfill its commitments for Europe but said Ukraine was still transiting its own gas.

“I think Ukraine can do this for European consumers for some time as a gesture of goodwill. But we want to say that Russia has cut gas supplies for Ukraine and the EU. We must compromise to settle this conflict,” he concluded.    


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