Ukraine wants as much as $7 billion for a majority stake in VAT Ukrtelecom, the national telephone company, Minister for Transport and Communication Yosyp Vinskyy said, according to Bloomberg.

      The government plans to sell a 67.7 percent stake in Ukrtelecom, Vinskyy told reporters today in Kiev. The state, which owns 92.8 percent of the company, has put off plans to sell shares for a decade because of disputes between ministries.

      Selling Ukrtelecom at that price would set a record in annual assets sales in the country. Ukraine has intensified selling state assets after Viktor Yushchenko won the presidency in 2004. Yushchenko pledged to bring the country, which borders the European Union and Russia, closer to the West.

      Before Yushchenko took power most of Ukraine`s state assets were sold at discounts to allies of former President Leonid Kuchma. Yushchenko`s administration annulled the sale of steel mill VAT Kryvorizhstal to Viktor Pinchuk, Kuchma`s son-in-law, for $800 million, and resold it to Arcelor Mittal for $4.8 billion in October 2005.

      Ukrainian asset sales raised $720,000 in 2007, compared with $119 million in 2006 and $4.1 billion in 2005. Yulia Tymoshenko, who took over as prime minister on Dec. 19, said she wants to speed up the sale of state assets.