Ukraine, Russia Schedule Next Gas Talks

Posted December 26th, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Ukraine and Russia have announced plans to hold their next talks on the price and volume of natural gas supply on January 15.

Both countries on Monday mentioned the positive and constructive nature of the talks and appear optimistic that an agreement can be reached.

Ukraine is trying to get a reduction in the amount it pays for Russian gas, while Russia wants Kyiv to continue the terms of a multi-year deal it signed in 2009.

Also on Monday, Ukraine's jailed former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, posted an open letter on her personal website urging President Viktor Yanukovych not to surrender the country's gas pipeline system to Russia. Calling the gas transport system Ukraine's last strategic resource, she warned Mr. Yanukovych that once it is lost, he will no longer have any arguments to make in negotiations with Moscow.

Ms. Tymoshenko also criticized Mr. Yanukovych for failing to make progress in seeking integration with the European Union.

The former prime minister and opposition leader was convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail in October for abusing her authority in a 2009 gas deal with Russia that her opponents say was too beneficial to Russia. She denies any wrongdoing, and has described her trial as “a political lynching” aimed at allowing President Yanukovych to rid himself of a political rival. He denies the accusation.