KIEV, Ukraine, July 12 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian president said a multilateral gas transit consortium in the country would expand its overall transmission capacity.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Yalta.
Yanukovych told reporters he was interested in setting up a multilateral natural gas consortium that could include Russia and the European Union.
"We are talking about a bilateral and a trilateral consortium, but at the same time we want to preserve our own transportation system," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.
European countries get around 20 percent of their natural gas from Russia, though around 80 percent of that runs through Ukraine's gas transit system. Russian energy company Gazprom in 2006 and 2009 cut gas supplies to Ukraine over contract disputes, leaving downstream consumers in the cold.
Yanukovych said the current contract "is not profitable for Ukraine," which saw its economy hammered by the global economic downturn. He added, however, that a multilateral mechanism could double the transit capacity to 7 trillion cubic feet per year.