Implementation of the Minsk Agreements and current issues on the domestic economic agenda were also discussed.
Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev, and permanent member of the Security Council Boris Gryzlov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues.
I want to start by asking Mr Medvedev to brief us on the situation with energy supplies to our neighbour, Ukraine. We have been receiving different information on this matter. The Government has already taken the relevant decisions.
Mr Medvedev, what is actually happening?
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, as we know, the Ukrainian organisations stopped gas supplies some time ago to the unrecognised republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Despite their assurances that they are ready to restore gas supply, it has not been resumed yet according to the standard system. Gas is not coming through the standard system to these two unrecognised territories.
This is putting people’s lives and health at risk. Yesterday, following my instruction, our Energy Ministry and Gazprom, acting in response to a request from the gas supply organisations in the two unrecognised republics, examined the possibility of providing gas supplies via an alternative route.
This alternative route was always there and we sometimes even used it. Given that gas is not coming in via the normal route, we have organised supplies via the alternative route.
At the moment, gas is now being supplied in the quantities required to meet the needs of districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and in the two unrecognised republics themselves.
Vladimir Putin: What about the gas supply situation in general in Ukraine?
Dmitry Medvedev: As far as the current situation goes, our customers in Ukraine are getting the gas supplies that were agreed. As you recall though, Mr President, the problem is that we went over to a prepayment system with the Ukrainians, and these payments are coming through, albeit with difficulty.
However, the advance payments are not big enough to make it possible to continue gas supplies over a long period. If they continue using as much gas over the coming days as they are right now, the prepaid amounts will run out in just a few days, in three or four days.
Vladimir Putin: Ukraine’s gas consumers asked for an increase on the volumes initially agreed.
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, they asked for an increase, but we will act in accordance with the contract we concluded. Whether we are talking about consumers throughout the whole of Ukraine or consumers in individual regions, they are all part of the overall gas volumes supplied to Ukraine. We will continue supplying gas so long as they continue to pay, taking into account too the gas that we are currently supplying for humanitarian reasons via the alternative route to the Donetsk and Lugansk peoples republics.
Vladimir Putin: They are asking for around three times more gas than before?
Dmitry Medvedev: They are asking for 2.5-times more as far as I know. Either our Ukrainian partners are going to have to pay for these supplies, or we will once again have to make a difficult decision.
Vladimir Putin: I ask the Russian Government to keep to the contract obligations and act in strict accordance with them.
Dmitry Medvedev: Good, we will do this, Mr President.