Presidents of Russia and Ukraine to meet Wednesday

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko were to meet Wednesday for the first time since an economic divergence that resulted in the near doubling of gas prices for Ukraine and brought ties between their countries to a new low.

The two leaders attended President Nursultan Nazarbayev's inauguration on Wednesday morning and were due to meet one on one at a hotel in the capital, Astana, later in the day.

In addition to damaging bilateral ties, the dispute over prices charged by Russia's gas monopoly has unleashed a political storm in Ukraine, where parliament on Tuesday voted to dismiss the government for agreeing to the deal.

Yushchenko called the vote unconstitutional and said he could not rule out dissolving the legislature, the AP reports.


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