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Ukraine

Klimkin: 'Russia needs Ukrainian market'

The EU has offered Ukraine a possible 11 billion euro aid package - with strings attached. Kyiv is keen to meet conditions, but doesn't want to sever economic ties with Russia, Ukraine's ambassador to Germany tells DW.

Your country is on the brink of bankruptcy. What sort of assistance do you expect from the European Union and the US?

Ukraine is not doing well economically right now, that's true. We're trying to put together an aid package. The Ukrainian parliament has just decided to agree to the conditions for macro-economic aid from the European Union. Of course, we're in negotiations with the US and the EU about further support. We need an aid package that will not only stabilize the situation but will allow reforms in Ukraine to continue. For that reason, the Ukrainian Prime Minister has said that we will fulfil all the conditions. At the moment, we're still negotiating how we're going to do this - the timeframe, for instance. Ukraine and the Ukrainian economy need these reforms.

What are these reforms?

The reforms include tax issues and measures to save energy. We must save more energy. A lot has been done in this sector, but at the moment we're still like energy junkies. We need fair prices for gas and electricity. Russia's President Putin has just said we will no longer get a gas discount. We've always said we wanted a fair price for gas. Under the Russian-Ukrainian gas treaty, we pay more for Russian gas than Germany does. I don't think that's fair, either politically or economically. But with this international support we're prepared and in a position to continue to effectively implement these reforms. And we'll prove it.

The German energy firm RWE says it could supply Ukraine with gas. How about renouncing Russian gas shipments and instead finding suppliers elsewhere?

RWE already sold us gas in 2012 and 2013. We fulfilled all the conditions for the transit of this gas across Poland, Hungary, and recently also Slovakia. That's the crucial point: We can mostly supply Ukraine with gas from Germany, although I can't say exactly to what percentage. An interesting aspect is that this gas costs less than Russian gas. Also, in summer we can store the gas in Ukrainian gas reservoirs and use it in winter to stabilize the common European market. Directly and indirectly, we'd be contributing to European energy security.

Many Russian companies are active in Ukraine. With regard to current developments: Is that about to end?

No, not at all. Russians are always welcome in Ukraine, and so are Russian firms. We need investments, and I believe Russia needs the Ukrainian market. Russia needs our potential. I've always said we don't want to turn our backs on Russia! We want to enter the European Union and I believe that, if the political will is there, everyone could benefit significantly from this.

Pavlo Klimkin is Ukraine's ambassador to Germany.

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