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Ukraine To Cut Russian Gas Imports In Half

Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko (center) and Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller (right) meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in Moscow in 2010.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko has said that in 2012 his country will reduce the amount of natural gas it uses by 50 percent.

Boyko said the country would only consume some 27 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas this year, down from the 54 bcm total Ukraine used in 2011.

Such a reduction means that Ukraine would only need some 16-17 bcm of Russian gas.

Ukraine has signed contracts for 33 bcm of Russian gas and officials at Russian gas giant Gazprom have said repeatedly that Ukraine must pay for the full amount contracted whether Ukraine needs all of it or not.

Asked about Russia's reaction to the cut, Boyko said, "if our [Russian] partners have questions, they should resolve them in a civilized manner."

Gazprom chief Aleksei Miller said he was "alarmed" by Boyko's comments.

Miller was meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and told Medvedev "so far our Ukrainian friends are only talking."

compiled from agency reports