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Russia Denies Putting Economic Pressure On Ukraine


Gazprom has been accused of undue pressure on Ukraine (epa) 3 January 2006 -- Russia today rejected Kyiv's claims that it was seeking to destabilize Ukraine by applying economic pressure through natural-gas price hikes.


On 1 January, Russia's state-controlled Gazprom monopoly halted gas supplies to Ukraine because Kyiv refused its demands to agree to a more than fourfold increase in gas prices.


Those gas supplies were at least partially restored today.


Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko, speaking on Ukrainian television yesterday, said Moscow was seeking to force the Ukrainian economy into a dead end. He also said that Russia, like "other empires" before it, is sooner or later going to fall apart.


Mikhail Kamynin, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said the Ukrainian accusations were "groundless."


"We pointed out to the Ukrainian diplomat that the allegations made by another high-ranking Ukrainian diplomat
that Russia is putting economic pressure on Ukraine with the aim of destabilizing it are groundless."


Kamynin said the Ukrainian charge d'affaires was called to the ministry today to protest what he described as Buteyko's unacceptable statements.


(RIA-Novosti/NTV)

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