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Medvedev says Ukraine saved hundreds of billions of dollars on Russian gas discounts

Ukraine has saved hundreds of billions of US dollars on Russian gas discounts over the years of its independence, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

"We rendered large-scale and very considerable aid to Ukraine, like we did to other republics of the former Soviet Union," he said. "I would refrain from citing exact figures but I would like to tell you just one thing - over the period of its development as an independent state, I think Ukraine has saved hundreds of billions of US dollars only on discounts Russia granted on its gas under non-market gas trade rules."

"These are not phantom figures, these are real figures," he stressed.

"It's quite a different matter that we did it sincerely, being guided by friendly feelings we had and have to Ukraine," Medvedev noted. "We cannot build our relations only on the principles of brotherly support. That is why, at a certain point, we had to resort to market pricing formulas, like we did in relations with other partners and domestically. I am telling this because we have extended such assistance to Ukraine for two decades. I repeat that this assistance amounted to hundreds of billions of US dollars."

"Our European partners, I mean (IMF managing director Christine) Lagarde appreciated the help Russia had extended to Ukraine in a recent period. I mean $3 billion we granted as a loan, having bought the Eurobond-secured loan, say, from a borrower which, as a minimum, gave rise and is giving rise to serious doubts. This money played a considerable role in establishing macroeconomic stability for a certain period. I would like to stress that these are not my own words, but the words of the IMF managing director. It only proves that we offered and are still offering a kind of help," Medvedev said.

According to the Russian prime minister, gas discounts were considerable sums the Ukrainian state and its leaders should have used to promote economic development of their country but failed to do that. "So, the Ukrainian economy is in a very grave condition. That is why we are closely watching what is going on there, regardless of other political factors. We are simply sorry for people who are not paid their wages and pensions in this situation," Medvedev added.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 15Apr14]

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