KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday that he expected a “just and acceptable” compromise to be worked out with Russia soon over the price of Russian gas.
Speaking at a government meeting, he said: “I am convinced that in the coming weeks we will strike a compromise with Russia on the price of gas and will receive a just and acceptable price.”
The cash-strapped former Soviet republic is trying to renegotiate its current gas deal with Russia under which it is paying $354 per 1,000 cubic metres this quarter.
Gas price disputes between Moscow and Kiev have in the past disrupted shipments of Russian gas to Europe, which mostly pass through pipelines across Ukraine.
A contract signed in January 2009 between Ukraine’s state energy firm Naftogaz and Russia’s Gazprom set what the current Ukrainian leadership regards as an exorbitant price for Russian gas.
The contract was the basis of a trial of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko which ended on Tuesday with her being jailed for seven years for forcing Naftogaz to sign the deal.
Talks are going on with Russia over the contract though it is not clear to what extent Moscow is ready to ease the pricing structure.
Azarov said last month that Ukraine planned to complete the revision of its gas contract with Russia in October.
(Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Alison Birrane)