Ukraine hopes to revise gas contract with Russia peacefully

Kiev still hopes to cut prices in the gas contract between Russia and Ukraine through peaceful negotiations, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Tuesday.

“We are still focused on holding a negotiation process with Russia… I am still a supporter of a normal negotiation process, based on equality and respect so that our partners listen to our arguments. Our arguments are rather serious,” Azarov told reporters.

Azarov has earlier told local media that the government was ready to initiate court proceedings against Russia to break the contract.

Ukraine has been seeking a revision of the 2009 gas deal with Russia since last spring, saying that the gas price formula is unfair. Russia has tied the price for gas to the international spot price for oil, which has been rising strongly recently.

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

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

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