Putin calls on Europe to help Ukraine pay gas debts18 october 2014, 11:59
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on Europe to help Kiev cover its gas debts with Moscow following talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, AFP reports.
"We consider that our European partners, the European Commission, also can and must lend Ukraine a hand to resolve this problem," Putin told journalists.
Putin said that Europe could offer Ukraine a bridging loan or guarantees from a "first-rate" European bank to pay off the $3.5 billion (2.7 bilion euros) of gas debts he estimated Kiev owes.
The Russian leader said that progress had been made after he and Poroshenko agreed on the "conditions" under which gas supplies could be restarted to Ukraine this winter.
"We agreed with our Ukrainian partners on the conditions to renew gas deliveries to Ukraine at least by winter, we agreed on all the parameters for an agreement," he said.
Poroshenko, meanwhile, said he and Putin had not reached any "practical results on the gas issue" but that he hoped a deal could be struck by October 21, when a fresh round of gas talks are planned with the EU.
Russia cut off its gas shipments to Ukraine in June and threatened to block the EU from receiving gas supplies if its members deliver gas to Ukraine.