Putin: Ukraine has a fetish about its gas system
Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom has lost about $800 million in damages as a result of the gas crisis with Ukraine, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in an interview with ARD German TV channel.
"Gazprom suffers losses just because of the fact that it does not provide complete and full deliveries of the product to its partners. The company was forced to stop the work of over 100 wells, with no danger of technological difficulties, though. The reputation and the image of the company suffers too as you know," Itar-Tass quoted Putin as saying.
Putin also advised Europe should give a loan to Ukraine so that the latter could settle accounts with Gazprom. He said that Russia had already given a two-billion-dollar loan to Belarus. "The contract says that we will proceed to the European price determination in three years," the prime minister said.
In addition to the financial assistance, Europe must give Ukraine to understand that it should act in a normal and civilized way. "Ukraine signed the energy charter, it wants to look like a civilized European state, and it must not close its transit to European countries despite the burning desire to receive gas at the prices which are lower than the market prices," Putin told ARD.
"Europe does not have to tell Russia that we must sell our goods for nothing. Europe must give a clear sign to Ukraine to make it act in a civilized way," Putin said.
Putin explained his view of the gas crisis to German journalists. "Unfortunately, the situation of today is intertwined with a wish to parasite with its transit position and with the internal political crisis," he said.
"Many people believed during the orange revolution that they would have a better life, that they would be relieved of corruption, that the country would move to normal market relations, and that the institutes of democracy would only strengthen. Many of them are disappointed nowadays. The former leaders have not justified people's hopes - they have abused their trust instead. The political struggle can be seen through clashes between the clans, but they only have a goal to satisfy their own ambitions and access the cash flows, with Russian gas sales being one of them," Putin said.
Putin also said that Russia was ready to consider an opportunity to participate in the privatization of the Ukrainian gas transmission system with Ukraine's consent. However, he added that Russia would prefer the establishment of the international consortium.
"We can participate in the privatization, if Ukraine decides so, but our offer was about taking the gas transmission system on a long lease, in which the system per se would remain the property of Ukraine," Putin said.
Putin reminded of the suggestion, which Russia made to Ukraine several years ago. "It was formed by Russia and Germany , accepted by the Ukrainian administration, and a joint memorandum was signed. The memorandum created the international consortium with the participation of Italian and, maybe, French partners. The consortium was taking the Ukrainian gas transportation system on a long lease. However, we can participate in the privatization, if the Ukrainian administration wishes so. But they have a fetish about the gas transmission system there, it is considered the national endowment, which they obtained from heaven, and is not subject to privatization," Putin stated.