Ukraine has already paid $800 million of its debt to Russia for natural gas supplies, and will pay another $200 million soon, President Viktor Yushchenko said on Thursday.

"The sum of $1 billion will be channeled into settlements for gas, which was pumped as a seasonal requirement," Yushchenko said at a meeting with Oleh Dubyna, head of the Ukrainian national oil and gas company Naftogaz, along with the chairman of Ukraine's National Bank and the finance minister.

Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom said on Tuesday that no progress had been made at talks in Moscow on natural gas deliveries to Ukraine in 2009, and on the settlement of the country's 2008 debt.

A Naftogaz delegation has been in Moscow since Monday. According to Gazprom, Naftogaz owes $2.4 billion for gas supplied to Ukraine in September-November, including penalties and fines. The Ukrainian company has started to repay the debt, but is seeking to postpone full payment of the outstanding sum.

Gazprom earlier said no new contracts on natural gas supplies to Ukraine would be signed until Naftogaz had repaid its gas debt.

RIA Novosti


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