The conflict between Russia's gas monopolist Gazprom and Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz over the latter's 7 billion dollar natural gas debt will not harm the Russian-Ukrainian "dialogue on cooperation in the energy industry," the Russian ambassador in Kyiv said on Wednesday.
"Gazprom's conduct is absolutely legal and cannot impede further dialogue on cooperation in the energy industry," Mikhail Zurabov told reporters in Kyiv. He backed his point by the fact that the two countries had been maintaining regular contacts at various levels since the start of this year. Gazprom had sent Naftogaz a 7 billion dollar bill for importing less gas in 2012 than it was to under a take-or-pay contractual commitment. Naftogaz responded that it had paid all the previous bills from Gazprom and that it had repeatedly notified the Russian company that it planned to reduce its imports in 2012. Last week, President Yanukovych said that Ukraine refused to pay the required sum.