Ukraine seeks gas contract revision

Sept. 3, 2010 at 2:33 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Ukraine, claiming the current agreement "is not advantageous," is seeking to revise terms of a natural gas deal with Russia.

Russian deliveries of natural gas to European customers via Ukraine have long strained relations between Moscow and Kiev.

Ukraine has been increasingly concerned with indigenous deliveries, as Russia's state-owned natural gas firm Gazprom has been slowly ratcheting up prices for Ukrainian deliveries to world levels while insisting on advantageous transit rates.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov accordingly wants to revise its natural gas agreement with Russia, Itar-Tass news agency reported Friday.

The current contract was signed in January 2009 under Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko.

Azarov told journalists at a news conference in Kiev: "We are holding pressing talks with Russia, like two partners, like two comrades, on prospects of the revision of the contract on the terms of gas deliveries for the coming 10 years.

"We are positive that the contract is not advantageous for us. If our appeal is not heeded, we shall look for other mechanisms but we shall not work under that contract for 10 years to come."

Azarov complained that Moscow's basic price of $450 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas is disadvantageous for Ukraine, adding, "This is why we are looking for mechanisms and ways of convincing our Russian partners" while stressing that Ukraine wasn't issuing ultimatums. "We do not engage in blackmail, now or ever," Azarov concluded.

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