The vice speaker of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, Valery Yazev, said a direct agreement on gas supplies between the Russian company Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine is possible, according to Itar-Tass.

His comment follows an earlier statement by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who said the intermediary Russian-Ukrainian company RosUkrEnergo should be liquidated.

“The less intermediaries in such major projects the better, even though there was a point, including a political one, at the time when the contract was signed,” Yazev said.

He stressed that RosUkrEnergo’s property should be transparent.

“At present, the picture of the property structure is absolutely clear and transparent on the Russian side, but the Ukrainian side is represented in this joint venture by a foreign bank,” he added.

“Russia has repeatedly said that it would be right if founders of this joint venture were Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy,” Yazev said.

A package of documents was signed in July of 2004 by which RosUkrEnergo was set up. Gazprombank and Austria’s Raiffeisenbank became its shareholders on a parity basis.

The five year-contact for supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine was signed with RosUkrEnergo in January of 2006. The gas transportation price was set at 1.6 dollars for 1,000 cubic meters for 100 kilometers (in cash).

In February of 2006, Naftogaz Ukrainy and RosUkrEnergo set up the joint venture Ukrgaz-Energo. Its main area of the activity is supplies of natural gas and other energy resources to Ukraine’s users.