MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s gas exporting monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said on Thursday it had agreed to pay $2 billion in advance to Ukraine in order to finance purchases of gas and secure its transit to Europe.
Ukraine - the main route for Russian gas to Europe - is struggling with monthly payments for purchases of Russian gas and has asked Moscow to lower its prices.
Previous disputes over gas prices between Kiev and Moscow have led to Russian gas supply stoppages to Europe, which is seeking ways to cut its dependence on Russian fuel.
“Without a doubt, this agreement is very important to secure the pumping of gas into underground storages in Ukraine in necessary volumes in order to meet peak demand in 2012/2013,” Gazprom’s Chief Executive Alexei Miller said.
“This is very good news for our European partners.”
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by John Bowker