Russia's Gazprom charges Ukraine $7 bn for gas contract violation

Russian gas giant Gazprom has sent a surprise bill to Ukraine for the quantity of natural gas it did not buy in 2012 as agreed between them ina a contract, which amounts to a whopping $7 billion.

Confirming the receipt of the bill, Ukraine's gas monopoly Naftogaz's spokeswoman Elena Yurieva told Ukrainian news agency, UNIAN that her company had met all its financial obligations to Gazprom and paid for 24.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas it used last year.

"We paid on time for all the natural gas delivered to us by Gazprom," Yurieva said.

The Russian claim for undelivered gas exceeds an earlier estimate of up to $5.7 billion indicated by some experts in November. (See: Russia's Gazprom may charge Ukraine $2.7-5.7 bn fine: report)

The gas supply contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom includes a ''take-or-pay'' clause under which Ukraine is supposed to pay for at least 33.3 bcm of gas.

Russia insists that Ukraine pay for all the gas it agreed to buy, whether it accepts the full volume or not and the contracted volume for 2012 was already fixed and cannot be changed within six months of the contracted delivery date.