Gazprom's deputy chief executive and the head of its export arm Alexander Medvedev in an interview with the British Financial Times.
"I can't imagine in my wildest dreams that Ukraine will refuse to fulfil its obligations," Mr Medvedev told the Financial Times. "The principle of 'take or pay' is that if you don't want to take it, you still have to pay for it."
"Under the 2009 deal, Ukraine's Naftogaz is obliged to buy 42.5bn cubic metres of gas a year from Gazprom. But last year it purchased only about 60 per cent of that, or 24.9bcm, according to Ukrainian officials. It made no difference that Naftogaz had notified Gazprom in advance that it did not need all its contracted gas," he said.
He said the $7bn charge and a groundbreaking deal Ukraine signed last month with Royal Dutch Shell to exploit its extensive shale gas reserves were "totally unconnected". The agreement has been widely interpreted as an attempt by Ukraine to reduce its heavy dependence on Russian gas imports.