The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom said that there were unlikely to be any problems with Ukraine's payments for Russian gas supplies before the end of 2009, RIA Novosti reproted.

"I consider, and this is my own subjective opinion, that there probably won't be any problems until the end of December," Alexei Miller told international scholars and academics from the Valdai Discussion Club.

He said that he believed that Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz had sufficient financial resources to pay for supplies until at least the end of this year.

Russian gas supplies to the EU were interrupted for two weeks in January over a bitter pricing and debt row between Moscow and Kiev. Russia supplies about 80% of its Europe-bound gas via Ukraine.

The conflict was resolved when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko hammered out a deal in Moscow.

"Ukraine is fulfilling the signed contracts," Miller added. "We would like them to draw a bit more [gas], but they are fulfilling their transit obligations."

Presidential elections are due in Ukraine in January. Incumbent Viktor Yushchenko is against the format of the current contracts and would like to see them revised. Tymoshenko plans to stand against him in the polls.


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