KIEV, June 11 (RIA Novosti) - Viktor Yushchenko renewed on Thursday his criticism of a gas deal with Russia, saying Moscow could demand a more than $5 billion penalty from Kiev for buying less gas in the first two quarters than stipulated in the contract.
The president said the possible penalty in the first quarter of 2009 "for gas we have not consumed" amounts to about $1.4 billion, and to $3.9 billion in the second quarter.
Yushchenko admitted that Russia might choose not to seek the penalty, but said such contract conditions affect Ukraine's policies as an independent state.
He blamed his rival Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's government for signing the gas agreement, against Ukraine's interests, and called for its revision.
"In my opinion, the gas agreements that were signed by the prime minister and [national energy company] Naftogaz in January need to be... reviewed. They are not viable economically, and do not meet Ukraine's national interests. Ukraine acted foolishly."
The gas deal the Russian and Ukrainian premiers reached on January 19 ended an almost three-week disruption in supplies to Ukraine and transit to the EU caused by a bitter pricing and debt dispute between the former Soviet allies.
Russia earlier agreed to Ukraine buying less than the contractual volume of gas given its economic difficulties.