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Ukraine's Former PM To Challenge Gas Deal In Courts

Yuliya Tymoshenko (file photo) (RFE/RL) 5 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko said today she would launch a court action to challenge a Ukrainian deal with Russia on higher gas prices.

Tymoshenko told a news conference the agreements should be cancelled. She said the representatives of the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Ministry and Ukrainian oil company, Naftogaz Ukrayiny, who signed the deal, should be punished.

"What they [officials] lied to society about after signing these agreement was that the agreed price was $95 for 1,000 cubic meters for five years," Tymoshenko said. "In reality, through the mediation of RosUkrEnergo, they accepted Russia's price at $230 for 1,000 cubic meters and the price of $230 is fixed by this agreement. This price is not limited by any period of time. This price will be then determined according to a formula that is not defined in this document."

Under a complex deal agreed yesterday, Ukraine will buy a mix of Russian and Central Asian gas from a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture for $95 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Russian gas giant Gazprom had originally demanded that Kyiv pay $230 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas.

Ukraine previously paid just $50 for the same amount. Tymoshenko, one of the leaders of Orange Revolution, was sacked as prime minister in September 2005 after months of infighting and corruption allegations.

(With agencies)

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