Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon dear colleagues!
I ask Viktor Borisovich [Khristenko] and Aleksei Borisovich [Miller] to report on the results of negotiations with our Ukrainian partners concerning gas deliveries. Aleksei Borisovich, please go ahead.
Aleksei Miller: Today negotiations with our Ukrainian partners concluded successfully. An agreement on the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine was signed and, as the Russian side had planned, from 1 January 2006 all Russian gas will be delivered to Ukraine only at European prices. The initial price in the first quarter will be 230 USD per 1000 cubic metres. Ukraine normally buys Central Asian gas, in fact two thirds of the gas imported by Ukraine comes from Central Asia. These deliveries will continue in 2006. However, the gas that is usually bought from Central Asia costs less and therefore no shock to Ukraine's economy will take place. The Russian side told our Ukrainian colleagues this all along. At the same time, we signed a contract on transporting Russian gas through Ukrainian territory. This is a long-term contract for the next five years. Another five year contract on the delivery of Russian gas to Ukrainian territory was also signed. The rate to transport gas is 1,60 USD. The most important thing is that our relations with Ukraine concerning gas transport now strictly adhere to European principles of payment—there will be only monetary payments. We have fully gotten rid of barter. The Ukrainian side agreed that Russian gas will be delivered to Ukrainian consumers at European prices, and we agreed to pay the European rate for transporting Russian gas through Ukraine. At the same rate of 1,60 USD, Central Asian gas will be transported to Ukrainian consumers through our territory, through the territory of the Russian Federation. Gazprom is fully satisfied with the results of the negotiations.
Vladimir Putin: How does the Government perceive the negotiations?
Vladimir Khristenko: Vladimir Vladimirovich, the Government is absolutely satisfied with the results of the negotiations that ended today. For my part I can say that in the future we shall help increase the level of understanding between Gazprom and our Ukrainian colleagues in every way possible. We shall also strive to ensure that cooperation with Ukraine keeps developing, including in the gas sector.
Vladimir Putin: Well, I would like to congratulate Gazprom and your Ukrainian partners on reaching these agreements. Undoubtedly, resolving difficult issues concerning gas will have an impact on all levels of Russian-Ukrainian relations. Regarding the energy sector, it is not only important that the Russian initial position on calculating the price for our gas is recognized as just. Something else is more important, namely the fact that our relations are of a new quality – they are transparent, market-based relations between partners. They allow us to work effectively together not only in the Ukrainian market, but in the markets of other countries as well. And this is very important. Finally, the agreements we reached on transporting gas create absolutely new and stable conditions for the delivery of Russian gas to western Europe for many years to come. I congratulate you and wish you a Happy New Year.