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Russia, Ukraine voice optimism at new gas deal

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April 20, 2010, 11:45 p.m. | Ukraine — by Reuters

"We are moving forward on the most sensitive questions which can do nothing but make us happy," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Azarov in the Russian capital.

Reuters

MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - Moscow and Kyiv were optimistic that a crucial gas deal could be signed on Wednesday between the two neighbours, a key element in stabilising Ukraine's chaotic economy. "We are moving forward on the most sensitive questions which can do nothing but make us happy," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Azarov in the Russian capital.

Ukraine's new leadership needs a lower price for strategic imports of Russian natural gas to help it nail down the detail of a 2010 draft budget and secure a resumption of credit from the International Monetary Fund.

"I hope that we will reach a positive decision," Putin said ahead of Wednesday's meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Ukraine's newly elected President Viktor Yanukovich in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Any agreement on a new price will be hailed by the new government as a triumph for Yanukovich, who took power in late February, although Ukraine may have to make economic and political concessions in turn.

"There are details (related to the gas agreement) that we would like to finalise today so that there is a possibility for the presidents to sign it tomorrow," Azarov told Putin.

The European Union, which receives a fifth of its gas from Russia via Ukraine's pipeline network, has a stake in the outcome since a pricing dispute preceding the 2009 deal left customers without gas for nearly three midwinter weeks.

Ukrainian officials say they want the country's total annual gas bill to be lowered by $4 billion and are seeking an average price of $240-$260 per 1,000 cubic metres for 2010 to help them balance their books. Ukraine has so far paid an average of $305 in the first quarter and $330 in the second quarter.
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Gene Nelson April 21, 2010, 3:15 a.m.    

I'm curious as to what they gave up, but glad the price is being lowered. I just hope the long term gains are worth it.

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Anonymous April 21, 2010, 8:04 a.m.    

Gene, read this article: &quot;Tarasiuk: Russia proposes terms contradicting Ukraine's interests in exchange for reduction in gas price&quot; (pick from right column on this page). Is it worth it? And after bandits from Party of Regions give up everything Ukrainian on behave of gullable and ambitionless Ukrainians, Russia still will race the price or turn the tab off as it pleases.

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Anonymous April 21, 2010, 10:15 a.m.    

Two Russians are talking about the gas prices for new colony Ukraine?! Realy funny ... :-) Good luck Ukrainians!

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