A $1 billion financing package is being prepared by the World Bank and other international financial institutions to help Ukraine and its Naftogaz to fill up its natural gas-storage facilities and avoid shortages over the winter.
Many European states still remember 2009 gas shortages due to cutoffs from Russia. Current gas talks between Ukraine and Russia, mediated by EU have been complicated by the war in the east of Ukraine that was unleashed Russia.
European officials still hope that representatives of Ukrainian Naftogaz and its Russian counterpart Gazprom can agree on a new gas deal at a meeting in Brussels on Friday.
Over 80 billion cubic meters of EU's gas supplied by Russia is shipped via Ukraine.
With the $1 billion financing package Naftogaz will be able to buy some 5 billion cubic meters of gas in the coming weeks and months, bringing volumes in its ample storage facilities to around 19 BCM, European officials say. That is the level the European Commission, the EU’s executive, believes is necessary to bring Ukraine and the EU through a cold winter.
Most of the funding will come from the World Bank, which is preparing a $500 million guarantee for the Ukrainian government for gas purchases by Naftogaz.