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Ukraine Says It Will Stop Buying Russian Gas In April

Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn

Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn

Ukraine's energy minister has said the country plans to stop buying Russian gas as of April 1.

Volodymyr Demchyshyn told a briefing in Kyiv on March 23 that Ukraine does not need Russian gas "at the moment" and added, "We will simply stop buying it."

Longstanding tensions between the neighbors over gas supplies worsened after the ouster in February 2014 of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who spurned a planned trade deal with the EU and sought to bolster ties with Russia.

The EU brokered a deal governing Russian gas supplies to Ukraine over the winter, but Kyiv and Moscow are arguing over the price Ukraine will pay after it expires at the end of March.

Demchyshyn said on March 21 that he was confident Russia would have to sharply lower the price because increased imports from the EU have reduced Ukraine's reliance on Russian gas.

Ukraine currently pays $329 per 1,000 cubic meters, and Russia wants it to pay $348 as of April 1, but Demchyshyn said a reasonable price would be $240 to $250.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax