Russia and Ukraine Approve New Gas Agreement

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.

It said the agreements are based on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's proposals and establish a new pricing structure.

"The price agreements are to be formalized through a special government resolution. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has issued instructions that a draft resolution be prepared shortly," a spokesperson said, RIA Novosti reported.

According to Business Week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters in Brasilia, Brazil yesterday that he planned an "unscheduled" visit with Yanukovych next week, and that gas talks continued.

Ukraine has been seeking a price cut as the current level is "too heavy to lift," said First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuev on March 21. The country’s economy shrank by 15.1 percent last year, the deepest decline since 1994, as the financial crisis cut demand for its exports, weakened the currency and dried up investments.

Alexei Miller, the chief executive officer of OAO Gazprom met with Ukraine’s Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko in Moscow today to discuss contracts, the Russian gas export monopoly said in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating. Sergei Kupriyanov, a Gazprom spokesman, declined to comment.

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