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Russian Energy Minister In Ukraine For Gas Talks

(RFE/RL) 14 November 2005 -- Russia's energy minister is in Ukraine today for a new round of talks on Russian gas supplies amid calls in Moscow to raise the price to European levels.

Russia's Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko is meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Ivan Plachkov, and the head of Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz, Oleksiy Ivchenko.

Ukraine is heavily dependent on Russia and Turkmenistan for gas supplies. Ukraine currently buys Russian gas at a heavily discounted rate of $50 for 1,000 cubic meters.

Khristenko reportedly had insisted that future agreements with Kyiv can be signed only if Ukraine agrees to pay more, gradually approaching the price of $150 per 1,000 cubic meters that Russia's European customers pay. Ukraine says the lower price is justified because it serves as a main transit point for Russian gas headed westward.