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Kiev considering gas purchase from Europe

KIEV, Ukraine, March 12 (UPI) -- A Ukrainian energy company announced plans to sign a short-term contract for natural gas from a German energy company "in the nearest future."

Ukraine in January purchased more than 63.5 billion cubic feet of gas from Russian energy company Gazprom and another 109 billion cf in February because of the intense cold snap that gripped much of Europe.

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The country aims to purchase 106 million cf from German energy company RWE in an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas.

"Naftogaz Ukraine plans to sign a short-term contract with Germany's RWE to deliver spot gas, bought in Europe, through Slovakian pipelines to Ukraine," Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti quoted local Ukrainian media as saying. "The signing is likely to happen in the nearest future."

Ukrainian officials have pressed for a better natural gas deal from Russia since 2009. The Ukrainian government has complained that deal is hurting an already bruised economy.

Russia wants control over Ukraine's natural gas transit system as part of a deal to secure a better price, though the Ukrainian government has balked at that idea. Russia sends about 80 percent of its natural gas for European consumers through Ukraine's gas transit system.

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