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Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych (right) with Yuliya Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and leading critic of Ukraine's gas deal with Russia (file photo) (epa) August 15, 2006 -- Ukraine's new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, is due to arrive in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi today for talks with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov and other top Russian officials.


Yanukovych is also expected to meet Russia President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an economic summit of the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.


This is Yanukovych's first foreign visit as the recently confirmed prime minister. Yanukovych, who enjoys the Kremlin's backing, has signaled that securing affordable Russian gas will be his main concern at this week's talks.


Moscow briefly cut gas supplies to Ukraine in January during a row over prices, disrupting gas deliveries to Europe and raising questions about the reliability of Russian energy supplies.


(compiled from agency reports)

Viktor Yanukovych
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych addresses Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada on August 6, 2006 (TASS)



UP FROM THE ASHES. On August 4, 2006, the Ukrainian legislature ended four months of political standoff by confirming Viktor Yanukovych as prime minister. Yanukovych's pro-Russian Party of Regions won the largest block of seats in the country's inconclusive March legislative elections. His confirmation capped a remarkable political comeback for Yanukovych after his defeat by Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine's Orange Revolution....(more)


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