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Ukrainian Prime Minister Yekhanurov (file photo) (epa)
10 January 2006 -- Ukraine's Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov has defended a recent gas deal with Russia, telling parliamentarians that the terms of the deal were advantageous to Ukraine and that the price Kyiv will pay for its gas supplies was reasonable.
Under the agreement reached on 4 January, Ukraine is to buy a mix of Russian and Central Asian gas at a rate of $95 per 1,000 cubic meters, up from $50 at present.
Ukraine's former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has criticized the deal, saying it is detrimental to Ukraine.
Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov shunned the parliamentary debate. Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and Oleksiy Ivchenko, the head of the state-run Naftohaz gas concern, were also absent.