Ukraine increased consumer prices for natural gas by 25% starting from Monday, according to RIA Novosti.

The National Electricity Regulatory Commission of Ukraine put the prices up to $0,0436 - 0,0475 per cubic meter, depending on whether consumers have gas meters installed.

The commission also fixed the maximum wholesale price for enterprises supplying people with natural gas at $45.7 per 1,000 cu m.

The regulatory body announced its plans to gradually increase natural gas prices in 2006 and 2007 to "economically sound levels".

Consumer gas prices had not changed in Ukraine since 1998 and were among the lowest in former Soviet republics.

The commission`s decision seems to be the result of Russia`s raising prices for its gas supplies to Ukraine to market levels, or $230 per 1,000 cu m, from the previous price of about $50 in January.