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8

Russia's Prime Minister Denied To Visit Ukraine

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has cancelled his visit to Ukraine

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has cancelled his visit to Ukraine scheduled for Wednesday, because the issues on the prices of the Russian natural gas supply and transit through the Ukrainian territory in 2006 had not been solved.

Fradkov held a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Yuri Yekhanurov on Tuesday discussing the conditions of the gas supply to Ukraine and its transit through Ukraine, the ministry?s statement said.

The head of Russia?s Industry and Energy Ministry, Viktor Khristenko, said Ukraine had shown ?principal understanding of the necessity of transferring to market conditions of cooperation? but the whole understanding had not been reflected in the concrete agreements yet. The gas situation between Russia and Ukraine may cause risks for gas supply to Europe, the minister added. It is necessary to conclude an agreement till the end of 2005, he stressed.

Ukraine insists to preserve this year?s conditions on gas supply and transit in 2006 although the two counties have agreed on the payment at European rates.

During the last five years Russian gas cost $50 per 1,000 cubic meters for Ukraine. The market price must now be not less than $160 per 1,000 cubic meters.