Gazprom continues talks with Ukraine, hopes for deal by yearend

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Gazprom is continuing to hold gas talks with Ukraine and hopes to reach an agreement by the yearend to avoid supplies cuts over Kiev's outstanding debts, a deputy CEO at the Russian gas giant said Monday.
MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom is continuing to hold gas talks with Ukraine and hopes to reach an agreement by the yearend to avoid supplies cuts over Kiev's outstanding debts, a deputy CEO at the Russian gas giant said Monday.

"Three days remain before the New Year, and of course no one would like the sad events of the past to be repeated. But if we are doing everything required on our side to avoid that, we unfortunately are not seeing the same enthusiasm from the Ukrainian side, although we have not lost hope," Alexander Medvedev told the Vesti TV channel.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday that no gas deal had been reached with Ukraine after his one-hour conversation with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

"I have just spoken to Viktor Andreyevich for an hour. No agreement has been reached," Putin said.

Asked why no compromise had been reached, Putin said: "They do not want to pay."

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Monday that Ukraine should pay $418 per 1,000 cu m for Russian gas from January 1, 2009. The statement was made during gas talks with a delegation from Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz in Moscow.

In 2008, Ukraine paid $179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian gas. Gazprom warned earlier that if Ukraine's outstanding $2 billion debt was not cleared, no contracts with Kiev for deliveries after January 1, 2009, and threatened to cut gas supplies to the ex-Soviet republic.

The 2006 gas row between the two former Soviet states resulted in a brief cut in supplies to Ukraine and shortages were reported in Eastern Europe.

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