Ukraine wants to cut Russian gas supplies by two-thirds

Ukraine will slash its gas purchases from Russia by two-thirds in the next few years, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Tuesday.

“We have fixed a very ambitious goal of cutting gas supplies from Russia by two-thirds in the next few years,” Azarov said without precisely specifying the time period.

Ukraine has been seeking a revision of its 2009 gas deal with Russia since last spring, claiming the gas price formula is unfair. Russia has tied the price for gas to the international spot price for oil, which has risen strongly since the deal was signed.

The contract was signed by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko who is now on trial for exceeding her authority in signing it.

Last week Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the contract must be fulfiled but added that discounts were possible if Kiev joined the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and agreed on acquisition of its Naftogaz energy company by Gazprom.

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