Russia will offer cheaper natural gas to Ukraine if the government in Kiev opts to join a Moscow-led economic bloc after halting free-trade talks with the European Union, according to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
Ukraine’s economic difficulties will be best resolved if it chooses integration with Russia, Shuvalov said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“No one other than Russia can provide Ukraine with the necessary funds so quickly and in such a quantity,” Shuvalov said. “A gas agreement could help relieve Ukraine of a huge problem. We can also give them a loan, but we will not help them without commitments on their part.”
At the same time, Ukraine knows that it will get “a different price for gas” by making a commitment to become a member of the customs union like Armenia, which decided in September to join the group instead of striking an EU pact, he said.
“We are negotiating in an open and transparent manner with Armenia about our ties and everyone understands that we are giving Armenia a specific price for gas because they are signing the whole package of agreements on the customs union,” Shuvalov said.