KIEV, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine was negotiating a new 2 billion-U.S.-dollar prepayment with Russia for gas transit to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to European consumers in winter, local media reported Tuesday.
According to Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper, Kiev needs the funds to purchase an additional 5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia's Gazprom to fill its underground storage facilities.
Ukraine needs healthy gas reserves before the start of the heating season to allay fears of gas transit disruptions to Europe, which relies on Russian gas flows via Ukrainian pipelines for one fifth of its demand.
Ukraine, which supplies about 80 percent of Russian gas to Europe, has received more than 5 billion dollars in advance payments from Russia for transit since 2012. Those loans cover shipments of gas via Ukraine up to 2015.
During a week-long cold snap in February 2012, Europe experienced a heating crisis after supplies of Russian gas reaching it through Ukraine were cut. The Kremlin blamed the gas shortage on Ukraine, saying Kiev, which was short of gas storage, had consumed volumes above contracted levels.