Ukraine seeks compromise with Russia on gas deal
Ukraine hopes to overcome disagreements and end disputes over a 10-year gas supply contract signed with Russia in 2009, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Friday, according to Xinhua.
"If the Russian leadership agrees to make a concession on this issue, we are also ready to meet halfway," Azarov said in an interview with local TV channels.
Azarov claimed that the price pegged in the agreement between Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's gas giant Gazprom is "absurd" and the current contract benefits neither Kiev nor Moscow.
He explained that Ukraine will be forced to abandon the costly imports if there are no changes in the deal and Russia will lose its largest buyer of fuel.
Ukraine is already purchasing gas from Europe and making efforts to increase its own production to ease dependence on Russian gas, Azarov said.
Under the deal, which was approved by the previous Ukrainian government, Kiev agreed to buy 52 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The price is expected to reach 410 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Kiev and Moscow have been negotiating on gas pricing for about three years. In exchange for lower gas costs, Moscow is seeking to gain partial control of Ukraine's energy infrastructure or force Kiev to join the Customs Union. Ukraine so far has rejected the conditions.