Sergei Kupriyanov, an official representative of Russia's state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom, said today that Ukraine cannot cut in half the amount of gas it is contracted to purchase from Gazprom.
Kupriyanov said Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftohaz state gas company signed a 10-year deal in 2009 specifying Ukraine would purchase 52 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually.
Kupriyanov noted there was a possibility to decrease that amount by as much as 20 percent and even then Ukraine is obligated to inform Gazprom six months in advance of plans to reduce volumes.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yury Boiko said on January 11 that Ukraine would only purchase some 27 bcm of gas from Gazprom this year.
The next round of Russian-Ukrainian talks on the issue is scheduled for January 15.
RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, with agency reports