MOSCOW, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said it would let its Ukrainian customer pay for natural gas using Russian rubles.
Ukrainian officials are pressing Gazprom for a better gas arrangement. Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges she abused her authority when she helped broker a 2009 gas deal with Gazprom.
The current Ukrainian government faults the 10-year deal brokered in 2009 for damaging an economy already battered by recession. Alexei Miller, chief executive at Gazprom, met with Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Boiko to discuss possible relief for Kiev.
Both sides, said Gazprom, agreed to amendments to the 2009 deal so Kiev could pay for Russian gas supply using the ruble instead of the depressed Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia.
Ukrainian officials in November suggested a new natural gas price would be roughly halved for Kiev.
"The parties discussed the issues of bilateral cooperation and marked fruitfulness of the current dialogue," the Russian energy company said in a statement. "The parties were unanimous saying that the negotiations on the terms and conditions for Russian gas supplies to Ukraine could obviously be finished by the end of 2011."