Ukraine’s strategically important gas transport system is our national asset and cannot be given to any foreign country, Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha told a press conference on Wednesday, according to the President`s press-office.

He said the government would never exchange a stake of the gas transport network for a chance to explore gas fields abroad but added that Kyiv was ready to consider proposals on international energy cooperation.

“Ukraine wants to use its gas transport system and transit capabilities as effectively as possible,” he said, adding that the cabinet must carefully analyze Russia’s proposals to use Ukraine’s capabilities.

Mr. Baloha said he had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Yanukovych, whose cabinet has to submit their proposals to the President by the end of the day.

“These proposals should be considered by experts and approved by the National Security Council,” he said.

As energy dependent country, Ukraine is interested in diversifying energy supplies, which is one of the components of our energy independence, he said.

“Ukraine must search for new ways of building international energy relations, including forging closer ties with Russia."