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Ivan Plachkov (file photo) (epa)
28 December 2005 -- Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov is scheduled to travel to Moscow today in an effort to defuse a row over the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine.
Last night, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, discussed the issue during a telephone call.
Russia wants to more than quadruple the price it charges Ukraine for gas as of 1 January. That would bring it into line with world market rates.
Ukraine says it is willing to pay market rates, but wants price increases to be phased in gradually over several years.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov yesterday warned Kyiv against any attempt to link the gas price row to rents charged for Russian naval use of Ukrainian port facilities in the Black Sea.