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    Russia considering gas discount for Ukraine

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    Russia is looking into the possibility of a gas discount for Ukraine in exchange for participation in Ukrainian energy projects

    Russia is looking into the possibility of a gas discount for Ukraine in exchange for participation in Ukrainian energy projects, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said on Saturday.

    "One of the questions we are definitely discussing is the possibility of a [gas] discount [for Kiev]," Sechin said.

    The Russian and Ukrainian governments approved on Friday new gas agreements reached by gas monopoly Gazprom and its Ukrainian partners.

    The Russian government press service said the agreements are based on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's proposals and establish a new pricing structure.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said later in the day he would meet with Yanukovych next week to discuss bilateral cooperation, particularly in the gas sector.

    Medvedev told journalists that Ukraine considered the current gas prices too high and that Russia was willing to compromise.

    Yanukovych, who was inaugurated in February, vowed during his campaign to improve relations with Russia and renegotiate the January 2009 deal on gas supplies, which increased the price Ukraine paid for Russian gas, straining the country's troubled finances.

    Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev said on Thursday the Ukrainian economy was able to cope with high gas prices last year due to a 20% discount offered by Russia and large gas reserves in its underground storage facilities. The discount expired at the end of 2009 and the deputy prime minister said the current gas prices were potentially ruinous for the national economy.

    Prime Minister Mykola Azarov earlier this month told a Cabinet meeting he was confident a deal with Russia on lower prices would be reached soon.

    MURMANSK, April 17 (RIA Novosti) 

     

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