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Ukrainian president calls Russian price for gas unreasonable, offers lower price


KIEV, December 30 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said on television Friday that the natural gas price of $230 per 1,000 cu m was unreasonable and suggested paying $80, taking into account Ukraine's transit fee of $1.75-$1.80 per 1,000 cu m per 100 km (62.5 miles).

Yushchenko repeated that the Russian price was "economically ungrounded."

However, he added that the Russian leaders were sensible partners. "Our relations [with Vladimir Putin] are friendly. He is a man with whom I have found it easy to maintain dialogue," Yushchenko said.

Yushchenko said he was certain the two countries would eventually come to terms on the gas issue.

Russia said it would cut off gas supplies to Ukraine starting January 1 if the two countries fail to settle their dispute over natural gas, Russia's main export commodity. However, both sides have assured that Russian gas flows to Europe via Ukraine will not be disrupted.

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