Ukraine can do without Russian gas throughout the coming winter, Naftogaz CEO Andrei Kobolev said on Monday.

“My major discontent in this process (negotiations on the winter package) is that we have opted for, as a matter of fact, a least risky variant,” he said in an interview with Ukrainskaya Pravda. “We could try this winter to impose certain measures of economizing, controlling key inefficient elements of consumption, and we have lots of them, in order to bring down consumption and do without Russian gas throughout the winter. I have often come under criticism for such position but it I think it would be useful for the country. The thing is that we should get rid of a number of myths that have been being imposed on Ukrainians for years. For instance, the myth that we will die without Russian gas. This is not true. And we must prove it to ourselves.”

He admitted that in case of a more risky variant Ukraine has ultimately turned down the coming winter would be hard for the country. “We would have to take great pains to economize on gas,” he said.

According to Kobolev, the latest gas agreements reached in Brussels were a provisional solution. The issue, in his words, would be finally settlement at the Stockholm court of arbitration. “Well, as for Europe, their position is as follows: look, guys, you go in with court proceedings, this is the main thing. All your agreements you have reached will be revised by the court. So, let us now sign a compromise variant. Yes, you might not like the price, yes, you might not want further debts… Can you find money for a provisional solution that will be later revised? We, as Europe, are telling you this: we will give you the money - via the International Monetary Fund /IMF/, via global banks, via the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) , we have already given you money for that, we have given thre billion to settle accounts, we will give you 1.9 billion more. Let us go without risks,” he said.

Earlier, Russia’s Energy Ministry said it expected an advance payment from the Ukrainian national energy company Naftogaz in the coming days for gas supplies in November and December this year. “We expect it in the coming days because the Ukrainian side has repaid the first debt tranche of 1.45 billion U.S. dollars. Gazprom received this money on November 5. It has issued a bill for November at the price based on a discount, i.e. at 378 U.S. dollars [per 1,000 cubic meters],” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. “That is why, after Ukraine receives this bill, it will have to make a prepayment in the coming days [for gas supplies] in the amount of Ukraine’s requirements for November. The bill has been issued for 2 billion cubic meters.