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    Ukraine says Russia agrees to lower gas price next year

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    Ukraine will pay roughly $230-235 for 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas in the first quarter of 2011, less than was predicted, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Thursday.

    Ukraine will pay roughly $230-235 for 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas in the first quarter of 2011, less than was predicted, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Thursday.

    The statement followed talks between Azarov and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Kiev on Wednesday.

    "We made good progress yesterday," Azarov told journalists in Kiev.

    Putin said after their meeting that no agreement had been reached, adding that discussions would continue and expressing confidence that a mutually satisfactory solution would be found.

    The Ukrainian Energy Ministry predicted in early October that the price for Russian gas supplied to Ukraine would stand at $245-270 for 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2011.

    Gazrpom Deputy Chairman Valery Golubev had said the gas price in the first quarter of 2011 would remain at the level of this year's fourth quarter, which he put at $250.

    Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz was given a 30-percent discount for Russian gas in April when the Ukrainian government agreed to extend Russia's lease on a naval base in Crimea until at least 2042.

    Ukraine paid $305 for 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas in the first quarter of 2010, $236 in the second quarter and $248 in the third quarter.

    Ukraine has long asked Russia to reconsider the gas pricing formula, saying that the current prices are still too high. Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in mid-October that Russia was considering Ukraine's proposal.

    KIEV, October 28 (RIA Novosti)

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