Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine on January 1 after the former Soviet neighbors failed to reach an agreement on a new gas contract for 2009. A week later, Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to the European Union, saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.
Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom signed a gas supply and transit agreement on January 19 after the Ukrainian and Russian prime ministers, Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin, became involved. Under the terms of the contract, Ukraine will have to pay Russia $450 per 1,000 cu m with a 20% discount while transit fees have not been revised.
"This is obviously unfair. I'm sure that those who have signed this agreement and accepted these terms will have to answer for their actions," Viktor Yushchenko said.
He said $450 was "an exorbitant price."
He added, however, that the majority of Ukrainian consumers would have to accept this price.
"Even though these conditions are disadvantageous and unrelated to [fair] market prices, they are a fact one cannot get away from," he said.
Tymoshenko earlier said the average annual gas price for Ukraine would be $228.8 per 1,000 cu m this year.
A Ukrainian presidential representative said on Saturday that Naftogaz could go bankrupt as a result of the deal on gas prices agreed with Moscow.
This is not the first time that Yushchenko and officials in his administration have slammed the terms of the deal.