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Kiev close to new gas deal with Russia?

Kiev close to new gas deal with Russia?
A Ukrainian worker operates at the natural gas pipeline from Russia to Poland in Boyarka town 15 miles from Kiev. File photo. (UPI Photo/Sergey Starostenko) | License Photo

KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Ukraine's natural gas deal with Gazprom, signed in 2009, could be revised in the next few days, the Ukrainian prime minister said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said following meetings with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, that the 2009 gas deal may be revised "within a few days," Bloomberg News reports.

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Kiev has lobbied aggressively for a better gas deal with Gazprom. The Russian energy company cut gas supplies to Ukraine briefly in 2009 because of disputes over debts and contract terms. Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges she abused her power in connection to that deal.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August said Ukraine could get a better deal if it joined the Moscow-led Customs Union. Kiev said it didn't want to become a full member, however, because it would interfere with free trade deals with the European Union.

Putin said following meetings with Azarov that Kiev should get rid of "various political phobias" tied to the Customs Union, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

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Kiev and Moscow, however, said they were able to reach trade agreements within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Brussels stepped away from Kiev because of the Tymoshenko issue, saying the charges were politically motivated.

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