Putin, "Russia will not yield to gas pricing pressure by EU"

Russia will not cave in to the pressure of the European Union, whichdemands an increase in gas prices as a precondition for Russia's ascensionto the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Russian President VladimirPutin at a meeting of the board of the State Council, which convened todiscuss coalmining problems. The Russian leader rejected the raising ofRussian prices for energy products up to the average international level"as a WTO-entry precondition." Putin stressed that low gas prices were a natural advantage of Russia. Hedrew attention to the fact that other candidates to the World TradeOrganization had not been urged to increase gas prices. In light of this,Putin maintains it is not fair to make such demands on Russia..