Russia has agreed to supply Ukraine at least 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2007 at a price of $130 per 1,000 cubic meters, up from the current $95, the Ukrainian prime minister said Tuesday, according to RIA Novosti.
Viktor Yanukovych said the volume and price were confirmed during talks in Russia.
"We have received telephone confirmation that the talks [on natural gas supplies] are drawing to a close in Russia, and that the volume [of gas deliveries] has been confirmed at 55 billion cubic meters at least, and at a price no higher than $130 per 1,000 cubic meters."
Yanukovych, who met with his visiting Russian counterpart Tuesday, said the intergovernmental cooperation commission, co-chaired by himself and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, has agreed to depoliticize the issue.
Natural gas exports have been at the center of a bitter dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which broke out last December and continued into this year, with Moscow temporarily shutting off the tap to force Kyiv to accept a new price of $250 per 1,000 cubic meters after years of enjoying a concessionary price of $60 as a fellow post-Soviet state.
European consumers, who receive most of their gas from Russia through Ukrainian pipelines, also suffered a brief disruption, raising concerns over the reliability of Russian deliveries. Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning off some of the gas meant for Europe - an allegation Kyiv denied. In February, the sides agreed on a compromise price of $95 per 1,000 cubic meters through the end of the year, although Russia said it will raise the price in the future.
Reaching a gas deal with Moscow is part of the pro-Russian premier`s efforts to repair Ukraine`s ties with its historical ally, which have been strained by the gas dispute as well as a row over Russia`s Black Sea Fleet base, on the Crimean Peninsula. Detractors say, however, that Yanukovych`s course toward reintegration with Russia and other ex-Soviet republics may stall the Western-leaning president`s bid to join the WTO, NATO and the European Union.