Russia Considering $3 Billion Ukraine Loan for Back Gas Payments

Russia may loan $2 billion to $3 billion to Ukraine to help the cash-starved nation repay debts to OAO Gazprom. (OGZD)

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev asked the Finance Ministry to consider loans to Ukraine on the recommendation of Russia’s natural-gas exporter, according to a statement on the government’s website.

Ukraine debt to Gazprom for natural gas stands at about $2 billion, spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said by phone from Moscow today. Gazprom decided against prolonging a discount on natural gas prices after April because of the debt, Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller told Medvedev at a meeting today, according to a statement.

Price disputes between Russia and Ukraine have led to the halt of supplies to Europe two times since 2006. Ukraine’s ability to pay for gas imports came into question after Russia stepped back from a $15 billion bailout package it halted when protests in Kiev toppled President Viktor Yanukovych.

Olga Lappo, Ukrainian prime minister’s spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Gazprom shares rose as much as 8.8 percent to 131.72 rubles in Moscow, regaining some of the ground they lost yesterday in the biggest plunge since 2008. The stock traded at 129.36 rubles at 5:05 p.m. Moscow time.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elena Mazneva in Moscow at emazneva@bloomberg.net; Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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