OREANDA-NEWS. January 12, 2009. Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to meet you here today. First of all, I would like to inform you on the results of the meeting between Mr Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Mr Topolanek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic currently presiding over the European Union. The meeting was very important in terms of its outcomes. It resulted in the signing of documentation that provides for establishing an independent mechanism of control over the Russian gas transit via Ukraine. The document had been developed by the European Commission. It was supplemented with some minor changes, signed by the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and Gazprom on behalf of the Russian party, and initialed by the Czech delegation. It will be signed by the Commissioner for Energy Mr Piebalgs on behalf of the European Commission.

In a very difficult environment around Russian gas supply to European consumers, when Ukraine is blocking Russian gas transit across its territory, the signing of this document and establishment of the independent mechanism is a very timely step. Our position is that this mechanism has to be put into operation as soon as possible. Throughout the recent days the Russian party and the European Commission have been cooperating in a well-coordinated and prompt manner in order to identify and appoint experts on behalf of the European Commission, the companies consuming Russian gas and the Russian party, in order to start acting as soon as possible. All of us may say now that we are ready for such actions. There is a little bit to be done, but it is very important – Ukraine has to sign the document.

Mr Topolanek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic has just flown to Kiev. Let us hope we shall have good news from Kiev today. Ukraine will sign the document and the commission will start working.

Gazprom, in its turn, has prepared everything for the commission to start working in the earliest time possible. We have aircraft waiting on the runway so as to promptly deliver experts to control locations. Therefore, we are waiting for good news from Kiev today.

As for the document signed today, it is the one setting the major tasks for independent control over the Russian gas transit via Ukraine to be exercised. But the main aim of the document and the main aim for all of us is to facilitate a real mechanism, to ensure real control over transit. Our mission is to make sure that 100 per cent of the gas fed to the Russian-Ukrainian border is supplied 100 per cent beyond the western border of Ukraine to the neighboring countries. We have prepared copies of the document for all the experts attending the meeting today, and as soon as signed by the Ukrainian party, we should immediately start working.

We'll have to convene an additional meeting to discuss all the technical aspects of communication. The signed document provides for online delivery of all the information to Brussels, Moscow and Kiev. However, we have to directly discuss what exact persons and structures will this information be delivered to.

At today’s meeting between the Prime Ministers of the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic a proposal was voiced to provide mass media representatives with an unhampered possibility to throw light on the activities of experts. We will support this proposal. Our mission is to provide mass media with absolutely objective information on the Russian gas transit in order to shape an actual image among the society. I would like to emphasize it once again that our mission is to ensure a 100 per cent control over the Russian gas transit, to ensure a real and effective control.

Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee will be included in the expert commission on behalf of Gazprom. Our party will also be represented by other experts pursuant to the document signed. As you know, an operations center has been functioning in Gazprom since January 1. Mr Medvedev will be coordinating the activities of the independent committee and our operations center.

A few words on the assessment of gas transit results over twenty-four hours. Once the Russian gas transit across Ukraine is resumed, we will take the following approach. If we see that Ukraine illegally siphons off Russian gas, if we see that Ukraine steals gas at the exit points of the European gas metering stations near Ukraine, we will reduce gas supplies to the Russian-Ukrainian border by the volume stolen.

As an initial step we will supply the minimum required volume to consumers in the Balkans, in particular. We have to make sure that Russian gas will not be stolen in Ukraine any more and then we'll be speedily increasing the volume of supplies. We are ready to provide all the required information on our gas metering stations.

It should be reiterated that the commission’s goal is, inter alia, ensuring ultimately transparent and objective coverage of the commission’s activities, as well as the results of such activities. I would like to emphasize it once again that there are a few things left to be done – Ukraine has to sign the document. As I have already mentioned, copies of the signed document were prepared. Every participant will have a copy and I ask everybody to get down to work as soon as possible. Russian gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine should be commenced in the earliest time possible. However, now everything depends only on Ukraine!

I would like to wish you every success in work and to say again that Alexander Medvedev is our authorized representative on the commission. He will ensure communication and interaction with our operations center. Of course, there are probably some procedural issues in terms of the organization of work. However, these are spelled out in the signed document and the commission will surely have to elaborate the additional provisions it considers necessary. This is up to you, up to the experts. Thank you for your attention, let’s proceed with the work and wait for good news from Kiev today.