Naftohaz Ukrayiny NJSC press-service chief Valentyn Zemlyanskiy assesses the statement of the Russian side that it will double natural gas price for Ukraine since 2009 as political.

According to an UNIAN correspondent, he claimed this at a roundtable today.

He stressed that at present Naftohaz and Gazprom are holding talks. According to him, the gas price depends on a number of factors, including the rates on storage and transit of the Russian gas through the Ukrainian territory.

“I think it is too early to speak about any final decision on the price, and it [the price] will become known for us only after the termination of talks between Naftohaz and Gazprom. So far I would assess this statement as political”, V.Zemlyanskiy claimed.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Russia will almost double the price it charges Ukraine for natural gas supplies from January 1, 2009. "This decision stipulates switching to market prices," he said. "The (gas) price for Ukraine will almost double due to this." Yushchenko has agreed on switching to market prices as soon as possible, he said.

At present, Gazprom Export, a subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom, supplies Central Asian gas to Gazprom affiliate RosUkrEnergo, which sells the gas to Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy at a price of $179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters.

In March, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan announced they would raise their gas prices to European levels starting from 2009.