Ukraine pledges to pay off Russian gas debt
Ukraine pledged to pay more than 2 billion U.S. dollars to settle its debt for Russian gas imports, the country's gas company Naftogaz spokesman Valentyn Zemlyansky said on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
"Naftogaz will take loans from Ukraine's two biggest state- controlled banks to pay off the debt," Zemlyansky said, adding that the money will be transferred to Russia late Tuesday.
The Ukrainian government said it will guarantee "all measures" needed to fulfill the order on the loans.
Earlier, Russia's natural gas company Gazprom has threatened to cut supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1 if the outstanding debt is not settled.
Ukraine sits on the main transit route for Russian gas exports to Europe, accounting for the transmission of a quarter of the continent's gas supply.
In 2006, a dispute over gas prices between Kiev and Moscow sent jitters among European customers after Gazprom cut all gas supplies to Ukraine.