Ukraine PM Azarov heads to Moscow for gas talks

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov set off for Moscow on Tuesday for talks on bilateral relations with Russia, particularly natural gas supplies, Ukraine’s government press service said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov set off for Moscow on Tuesday for talks on bilateral relations with Russia, particularly natural gas supplies, Ukraine’s government press service said.

Azarov told a news conference in Prague on Monday that Ukraine and Russia had recently stepped up talks on Russian gas supplies to his country and that he hoped to reach a compromise on the issue.

Ukraine has long sought to alter the terms of the 2009 gas deal it signed with Russia. The deal ties the price of gas to oil prices, which have risen strongly since 2009, boosting Ukraine's gas bill. The contract also says Ukraine must import no less than 33 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia.

Kiev wants to reduce both the price and the volume of gas imports.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Ukraine is paying $400 per 1,000 cu m for Russian natural gas.

Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced last week, however, that "no New Year presents" should be expected in bilateral talks on a reduction in the price of Russian natural gas.

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