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Russian official says Ukraine gas discount comes at a price

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Sept. 15, 2012, 2:09 p.m. | Business — by Associated Press

In this Wednesday, April 29, 2009 file photo, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and then Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko talk to each other as they leave a news conference in Moscow, Russia. Lawyers for Tymoshenko who has been jailed and convicted of abusing her office, are appealing before the European Court of Human Rights, with the hearing on Tuesday Aug. 28, 2012, it comes one day before a court in Ukraine is expected to rule on her appeal against her conviction, which she says is politically motivated.
© AP Photo

YALTA, Ukraine — A top Russian official says Ukraine will continue paying a high price for natural gas imports unless it moves back into Moscow's orbit.

Kiev, which imports all its natural gas from Russia and produces none of its own, has long been courting Moscow to get a discount for gas imports since a 2009 agreement significantly increased the price for the gas Ukraine receives from Russia.

Russia's deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, said Saturday that Ukraine may expect a discount only if it joins a Russia-dominated economic alliance. Ukraine has resisted such Russian overtures, fearing that membership in the Moscow-led Customs Union would scuttle its hopes of closer ties with the EU.

Moscow opposes Kiev's efforts to integrate into the EU and move away from the Kremlin's sphere of influence.

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