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Ukraine raises gas transit fees in 2010

MOSCOW, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Ukraine will raise the rate it charges for the transit of Russian natural gas to Europe by more than 58 percent in 2010, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said.

Gazprom said Ukrainian utility Naftogaz will raise the rates for Russian gas transits from $1.70 per 1,000 cubic meters per 100 kilometers of transit to $2.70 in 2010.

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Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov added Naftogaz would pay $305.2 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in the first quarter of 2010, Russia's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Ukraine paid $228 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in 2009. Gazprom said the average for 2010 would be $280.

Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine briefly in January because of lingering disputes over gas prices and debt.

A bilateral agreement reached in November between the two countries said the price Ukraine pays for its gas would be formed on a market basis. Transit fees would rise by 60 percent.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko gained approval to spend $2 billion from Ukraine's National Bank reserves to cover the December gas payment to Russia.

Kiev is obligated to pay its monthly gas payments by the seventh of each month, though Gazprom extended the December deadline to Jan. 11 because of the holiday season.

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