KIEV, December 22 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Yuriy Boyko, said he hopes the issue of the price for Russian gas has been settled.
“An additional agreement has been signed until 2019 [when the current bilateral gas contract’s validity period ends],” Boyko told Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 in an interview that aired Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych in Moscow on Tuesday that Russia would sell gas to Ukraine’s Naftogaz energy company for $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters, which is well below the current level of $400.
Russia also announced that it could draw on its national wealth fund to buy $3 billion in Ukrainian eurobonds by the end of this week, making a swift start to its plans to provide $15 billion worth of credit to its cash-strapped neighbor.
Mass protests in downtown Kiev have been ongoing since Kiev stunned Europe November 21 by announcing that it was indefinitely postponing the signing of association and trade deals with the European Union, opting instead to strengthen ties with the Moscow-led Customs Union.
Ukraine’s rejection of the EU deal has thrown Ukraine into a political crisis, with hundreds of thousands attending demonstrations demanding the dissolution of the government and early elections. Both the EU and Moscow have accused each other of using strong-arm tactics to secure economic ties with Kiev.
The Unian news agency cited Kiev police as saying over 12,000 opposition supporters rallied on the Ukrainian capital’s Independence Square on Sunday. No breaches of public order were registered.