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Yanukovych Wants To End Disputes With Moscow

Viktor Yanukovych (file photo) (epa) August 5, 2006 -- Ukraine's new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, says he wants to end disputes between Kiyv and Moscow over key issues such as NATO membership and the price of Russian gas supplies.

In an interview published today with the Russian government newspaper "Rossiiskaya gazeta," he said Ukraine needs "to stop quarreling" with its neighbors.

He said his government will negotiate over the gas price, and that the issue of NATO membership will be put to voters in a referendum.

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted on August 4 to approve Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician, as prime minister. It also endorsed a new government that brings together Yanukovych's Party of Regions, the Communists, the Socialists, and the Our Ukraine bloc of President Viktor Yushchenko.

Yanukovych and the pro-Western Yushchenko were bitter rivals during the 2004 presidential election.