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Ukraine PM Calls For Fresh Start With Russia

Mykola Azarov (left) meets with Vladimir Putin on his first foreign trip as prime minister.
Ukraine's new Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has called for a fresh start in ties with Moscow as he met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss lowering gas prices.

The meeting is the first between the heads of government since Ukraine's pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovych was elected president last month, and comes after Azarov's talks with Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Putin sounded optimistic about the prospects of economic cooperation, saying it was a "very good sign" that Azarov chose Moscow for his first foreign trip in his current capacity.

He also hinted that tariffs could be reviewed despite the fact that the current gas contract was "balanced."

Gas supply and pricing have been a cause of dispute between Moscow and Kyiv. A spat in January 2009 led to Russia turning off the taps to Ukraine, which in turn left many European countries short of gas.

compiled from agency reports