Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said Wednesday that Russia should not be blamed for Gazprom's $7 billion fine issued for Ukraine's failure to buy enough gas, Interfax reported.
He said the fine was a consequence of the gas supply contract signed in 2009. The deal has been widely criticized in Ukraine for purportedly imposing extremely unfavorable terms on the country.
"Gazprom's actions are most of all [due to] a huge mistake by the previous government," Yanukovych said during a joint news conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Vilnius.
"No one slammed their fingers in the door and made them sign such an agreement," he said. "So for us to blame Gazprom and Russia for this pressure would not be correct because Ukraine also signed the agreement. This is a shortcoming."
Yanukovych said Ukraine had appealed the bill to the European Energy Community but received no reply.
"When Russia presented the bill for $7 billion — and these were penalties — we hoped that we would also receive commentaries on this issue from the Energy Community, their point of view," he said.