Resolution of gas dispute with Ukraine only possible with "zero option" – Medvedev
Settlement of differences over natural gas supplies to and transit via Ukraine is only possible under a "zero option" in which case it would benefit both sides, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
"You cannot force things on another. You cannot say: you [Russia] have the transit fee increasing five-fold from next year. (...) Nothing would happen then. You cannot discuss gas and at the same time say: you know, you still owe us money under various court rulings," Medvedev told the "Saturday News with Sergei Brilev" program (VGTRK).
"So, whether they want it or not, it is obvious that in this particular instance we need to come to some kind of a zero option. Whether you like this expression or not, but it has to be a mutually beneficial solution for both sides."
He disagreed with Ukraine's claims that it did not need direct gas supplies from Russia because it could get all that in reverse flows. "This is not possible for another reason. After all, we have to think about European consumers. And about our Ukrainian colleagues too," Medvedev said.
With regard to reverse flows, he said: "We understand that this is our, Russian, gas, but Ukraine is getting it at a much higher price than it could have got."
"We said this to our Ukrainian colleagues in various formats. This price can be lower. But for that [to be achieved], we need to agree," the Russian prime minister said.