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Russia, Ukraine Make Progress In Gas Talks

Viktor Yanukovych (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) August 16, 2006 -- The premiers of Russia and Ukraine say they have made progress in resolving a long-standing dispute over natural-gas prices.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Fradkov, made their remarks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The two prime ministers say they have agreed on a pricing mechanism for next year's deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine. They also agreed on details concerning shipments of Russian gas going to Europe via Ukrainian pipelines.

Yanukovych says that the new pricing system is "transparent."

He also said that the main topic of today's talks -- whether Russia will raise its gas prices for Ukraine -- will be announced later.

Fradkov emphasized that Russia's gas policies will be determined by market conditions and by Ukraine's willingness to open up to Russian participation in its economy.

"We have a clear desire to find solutions to all of the difficult issues, but we must be guided by a market approach and by a willingness to clarify the prospects of developing our cooperation in the future in the field of gas and other sectors of the economies of our countries," he said.

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

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax, dpa)

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