22 Apr 2010 17:27

Russia-Ukraine deal to guarantee reliable gas transit to Europe

MOSCOW. April 22 (Interfax) - An agreement that has been signed by Russia and Ukraine will ensure reliable delivery of Russian natural gas to European consumers, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"Our partners will be able to pump gas into underground depots at full volume, confidently get through the autumn and winter maximum [use periods] and organize reliable pumping of Russian natural gas to European consumers," Putin told a government meeting.

"The amount of money that Ukraine doesn't pay and Russia doesn't receive will stay in Ukraine," he said. "The sum will build up from year to year. It's tens of billions of dollars."

"It is this money that will be considered as payment for the presence of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol from 2017 on," Putin said in reference to a treaty on Wednesday that allows Russia's Black Sea Fleet to keep Sevastopol as its main base.