Kiev and Moscow have failed to resolve their gas supplies dispute, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said after meeting Russia’s leader in Milan on Friday. Moscow cut off the gas flow to Ukraine in June over unpaid debts and a pricing disagreement. According to Putin, only an agreement for winter supplies has been reached, but details are still to be worked out.
“We agreed on the basic parameters of the gas contract,” Poroshenko told reporters, as quoted by Russia Today. According to the Ukrainian president, the Ukrainian side is looking for sources of funding to pay off the arrears.
The optimistic statement came after Poroshenko met with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and the head of Gazprom Aleksey Miller.
But emerging from a meeting Russia’s President Vladimir Putin later in the day, the Ukrainian leader said that no agreement had been reached. New talks have been scheduled for October 21, with EU leaders once again set to mediate the process.
In his turn, Vladimir Putin stated the two countries agreed on terms of gas supplies “at least for the winter period”. “The current issue is cash deficit in Ukraine,” Putin said, calling on Western partners to help Kiev overcome the crisis.
Apparently, Russia is not ready to supply gas to its eastern neighbor without pre-payment. Putin said that Kiev still owes Moscow some $5.5 billion, but is ready to reconsider this sum and to provide a discount of $100 per one thousand cubic meters, which will reduce the debt to $4.5 billion.
Putin: Drones agreed to monitor situation in Ukraine
As for the Ukraine crisis, the Russian president commented, according Euronews report: “There are important problems with the demarcation line. On this issue, I think we have made good progress. We have an agreement to use drones and modern techniques to determine where the attacks come from, if [and when] they happen”.
Putin said the new law giving special status to troubled regions in eastern Ukraine is ‘not perfect,’ but might be used to finally stabilize the situation in the area. Poroshenko signed the document on special status for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on Thursday.
The legislation “defines temporary order of local government in certain districts,” precisely enacting governance “in the cities, towns and villages” to be “carried out by territorial communities through local government bodies under the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine”.
The new law, which will be valid for three years from the date of its publication, is part of the agreement reached between Kiev authorities and eastern Ukrainian militias in Minsk on September 5.
The Minsk protocol, which also includes decisions on a ceasefire and the exchange of war prisoners, should be the guideline in Ukraine’s conflict management, Putin said. “I’d like to point out that these agreements, unfortunately, are not fully implemented by either side,” added the Russian leader, as quoted by RT.
However, according to Putin, Italy, France, Germany, and Russia have expressed willingness to use drones to monitor the situation in the region. He added that the technical side of the plan would be discussed in the near future, when specialists gather at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe) headquarters in Vienna.
Optimism vs reservation
European leaders such as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British PM David Cameron also attended the talks in Milan, on the sidelines of the 10 ASEM Summit with 50 Heads Of State From Europe And Asia. While some were optimistic about the meeting’s outcome, others remained reserved.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he was “really positive” on the prospects for a solution to the Ukraine conflict after talks between Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko. “I hope this spirit (of dialogue) … will continue,” he said, citing a sense of urgency to solve a conflict which has cost more than 3,600 lives.
For his part, British Prime Minister David Cameron also described the meeting as positive because President Putin had “said very clearly that he does not want a frozen conflict, a divided Ukraine.” “If that is the case,” however, Putin must now live up to his commitments to help implement the Minsk accords and end Russian intervention in Ukraine. Failing, the European Union would have not choice but to leave tough sanctions against Russia in place, Cameron said.
Earlier Friday, Putin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Afterward, the Kremlin said the two leaders remained at odds on how to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. After her meeting with Putin, Merkel said talks have not led to a breakthrough. “We will continue to talk. There was progress on some details, but the main issue is continued violations of the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” she added.
The Russian Presidency informed that Vladimir Putin met Romanian President Traian Basescu in Milan. There was a brief talk “on the main aspects of the bilateral relations, Moscow relates. Traian Basescu gave a press statement on the airport before leaving for Milan on Thursday morning but did not mention any future meeting with Putin.