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Main news of December 27

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* Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the 2006 federal budget, with budget revenues expected at 5.046 trillion rubles ($189.6 billion) and spending at 4.27 trillion rubles ($148.3 billion)

* Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko denied Ukraine's statements that Moscow had agreed on a gradual transition to market prices for natural gas and said Russia's offer to sell gas to Ukraine for $220-$230 remained unchanged

* Andrei Illarionov said he had resigned as President Vladimir Putin's economic advisor

* Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Ukraine would not violate the agreement on Black Sea Fleet bases in the autonomy of Crimea

* The Ukrainian presidential press service said Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov would arrive in Moscow December 28 to hold talks on natural gas

* Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov said Ukraine had the right to tap 15% of the Russian natural gas pumped through its territory

* Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said that if Ukraine started tapping Russian natural gas in 2006, the company would consider it theft

* Gazprom said it would supply 21 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Belarus in 2006 at $46.68 per 1,000 cu m, the same price as in 2005

* The upper house of Russia's parliament approved the draft law on the special economic zone (SEZ) for the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea in the Kaliningrad Region

* Anton Samoilenkov, the chief editor of the Chelovek I Zakon magazine, said 12 Russian sailors released from a prison in Nigeria December 14 after nearly two years in custody would return home Wednesday

* Head of the State Duma international affairs committee Konstantin Kosachev said Russia could abolish capital punishment during the upcoming spring session of parliament

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