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Yushchenko made the announcement on Ukrainian television (file photo) (epa)
30 December 2005 -- Ukraine, facing a New Year's cut-off of Russian natural gas deliveries, announced today that it has clinched a deal with Turkmenistan that will supply half the country's gas needs in 2006.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said on Ukrainian television that under the deal, Turkmenistan will supply Ukraine with 40 billion cubic meters of gas at $50 per 1,000 cubic meters. He said deliveries will start in January.
Turkmen gas, however, is supplied to Ukraine via Russian territory, meaning Russia could in theory block the shipments. The Ukrainian announcement comes as Ukrainian and Russian negotiators continue tense talks over Russian natural gas deliveries.
Russia's state-controlled Gazprom monopoly is threatening to cut off all supplies on 1 January unless Ukraine accepts a four-fold price hike, from $50 to $220 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Yushchenko also told Ukrainian television that he has handed control of Ukraine's energy sector to an ally of his pro-Moscow political rival.
Yushchenko said he named Vitaliy Hayduk as deputy prime minister to manage Kyiv's energy sector and make the country self-sufficient within four years.
Hayduk, 48, had served as deputy prime minister in charge of energy and industrial affairs under Viktor Yanukovich, Yushchenko's archrival in last year's presidential race.