Naftogaz Ukrainy's debt to Russia's Gazprom for natural gas is about $2 billion, Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan has said.
"We have a significant debt. Currently it stands at about $2 billion," he told reporters in Kiev on Saturday.
The minister said that the debt of heating companies to Naftogaz has reached UAH25 billion, in addition to the debts of private gas traders.
"The debt of gas traders, I mean Mr. Kurchenko [the owner of VETEK Group] is about UAH2 billion: gas was shipped, but the money has not been received. I think the prosecutor's office is working there," said Prodan.
Talking about the price of Russian gas imports, he noted that in March its value will be the same as in February - $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters, and in the second quarter, if we do not succeed in agreeing to extend this price, it could go back to around $400 per 1,000 cubic meters.
The minister said that currently, Naftogaz Ukrainy was holding active negotiations with Gazprom to keep the current price, adding that there are no contacts at the level of ministers so far because of the Russian side's reluctance to make concessions.
Prodan said Ukraine was due to pay around $400 million for gas consumed in February.
"Approximately 400 million [dollars]," he said, when asked about the bill for gas imported and consumed in February.
Moscow is making the release of the second tranche of a loan for Ukraine that was agreed in December conditional on the country's payment of arrears for Russian natural gas, according to the Russian finance minister. Rea