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Ukraine's new PM prioritizes relations with Russia

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Ukraine's newly-appointed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said Friday his country would set relations with neighboring Russia as a priority.
KIEV, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's newly-appointed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said Friday his country would set relations with neighboring Russia as a priority.

"We will single out relations with Russia as our priority, and will build them according to our [mutual] national interests," Yanukovych said, adding that certain issues, including prices on Russian gas, would be subject to separate talks.

Natural gas, an important factor for Ukraine's economy, has been a contentious issue between the ex-Soviet neighbors during Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko's time in office.

Yanukovych, who received Yushchenko's backing for the premiership after months of political wrangling, has strong support from the Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine, and is widely expected to seek closer economic ties with Russia.

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