Russia eyes gas discount for Ukraine

April 17, 2010 at 7:02 PM
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MOSCOW, April 17 (UPI) -- Russia said it's considering a gas discount for Ukraine in exchange for being allowed to participate in Ukrainian energy projects.

"One of the questions we are definitely discussing is the possibility of a [gas] discount," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Saturday, the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.

"We have many interests, including in the energy sector," Sechin said, adding Russia could consider participating in "hydro-power generation and atomic industry in Ukraine," which relies heavily on nuclear energy. "We also have strategic interests."

Word of the discount came a day after the Russian and Ukrainian governments approved new gas agreements setting a new pricing structure, based on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's proposals, Soviet media reported.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would meet with Yanukovych next week to discuss cooperation, particularly in the gas sector.

Medvedev said Ukraine considered the current gas prices too high and Russia would compromise in exchange for being able to participate in Ukraine's energy sector.

Yanukovych, who is less than three months into his first term, has promised to improve relations with Russia and renegotiate a January 2009 agreement on gas supplies that increased the price Ukraine paid for Russian gas.

Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev noted a 20 percent discount on gas offered by Russia expired at the end of 2009 and said the current price could be "ruinous" for his country's economy, RIA Novosti said.

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