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Russia should build gas transport routes bypassing transit states - speaker

Moscow, 7 July: Russian State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov has said he regrets that Russia every month has to return to the issue of Ukraine's ability to pay for the gas that has been supplied. "The fact itself is sad that we every month have to discuss the question of the ability of Ukraine, as a consumer, to pay for the gas supplied by Russia," Gryzlov told journalists on Tuesday (7 July).

According to Gryzlov, "we understand the scale of the problems arising in Ukraine. The crisis has affected Ukraine much more than many other countries. In the first quarter, Ukraine's gross domestic product was only 79.7 per cent against the same period last year".

However, no matter what the reasons for this situation are, Russia continues to give Ukraine all possible help, for example it has paid for the transit of gas via Ukraine's territory in advance till February 2010, he said.

"This is actually a free loan exceeding 2bn dollars. Sanctions are not imposed on Ukraine for the systematic non-implementation of the agreement on the volumes of gas to be bought. I can continue this list," Gryzlov said. He added that the production and supply of gas is the industry which demands particular stability. Contracts here are signed for dozens of years.

"This is a very complicated technological system and it is unacceptable to make it work "from payment to payment". The question on the possibility of "taking gas away from the export pipe" should not even arise, because this does enormous damage, including to Ukraine itself," Gryzlov said.

He said he was convinced that the contract which had been signed should be rigorously implemented. But at the same time it is necessary to build up gas transport capacities providing diversification of means of supplying domestic and Central Asian and Azerbaijani gas going through Russia. "The implementation of such projects as Nord Stream, South Stream, and the development of gas liquefaction facilities should be considered as the most important priorities," Gryzlov said.

He said that just 10 years ago "Russia depended greatly on transit countries in terms of cargo transshipment at sea ports. About 75 per cent of the whole volume was going through them. Today, their amount has been reduced sixfold. Everybody who intends to use not quite honest means in the transit of Russian cargo should attentively look at these figures".