Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes that the lack of a consolidated position of Ukrainian powers, and, in particular, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko`s position concerning pumping natural gas into Ukrainian underground depots, hampers to solve this problem.

According to an UNIAN correspondent, he said this after a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko in Astana (Kazakhstan) on Friday.

V.Putin stressed that presently Ukraine and Russia are discussing conditions of pumping the natural gas into the underground depots, including the form of payment for the gas. According to him, in particular, the sides are discussing the opportunity of using Gazprom’s advance payments for the natural gas transit as Ukraine`s payments for gas during the next five years. Putin argued that the advance payment arrangement conceals high risks as it is. As such risks, he named the next presidential election in Ukraine and Ukrainian plans to modernize its gas transit system.

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At the same time, he stressed, the situation has become complicated due to the recent statements by President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko, who rejected the scheme. “The situation has become more complicated, unfortunately, because we have heard recently that President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko issued a statement, calling such a form of payment unacceptable and hardly legal. I ask both our countries to pay attention to this fact. We will hardly be able to solve problems with such big risks and under such conditions”, V.Putin noted.

V.Putin said Ukraine is to put 15 billion cubic meters of gas worth between $4.7 billion and $4.8 billion in its underground depots.

In her turn, PM of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko claimed that she hopes that the problem concerning natural gas pumping will be successfully solved. “I think, the gas will be pumped”, she said.