Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has expressed the hope that Russia will not levy fines upon Kyiv for not taking gas.
"We are working to reduce the negative balance of our balance of payments. With what? With maximum striving to avoid the acquisition of expensive Russian gas. You know, we have reduced gas consumption by ten billion cubic meters. And what is ten billion? It is four and a half billion dollars," Azarov said in an interview carried on the BBC's Ukrainian service.
Asked whether Russia would be imposing fines, Azarov said, "Well, let them go ahead. I think they won't. There are with Russia certain agreements and constant negotiations on reviewing the contract are underway."
"This is not the first year we are reducing gas purchases," the prime minister said.
Commenting on the situation surrounding the gas negotiations with Russia, Azarov said, "Well, here you say 'thank you' to the politician that concluded these contracts. She [former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko] wrote it out so that Ukraine is without rights, that it does not have the right to get out of the agreement. Here is ten years - and, bless you, fulfill the existing contract. Only on Russia's initiative is it possible to review the contract. And it's not possible on our initiative."
"How can such an inequitable contract be signed with Russia? What kind of responsibility is needed for this? For this reason I want to emphasize that that we have no alternatives today," the prime minister said.