Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov expressed hope Thursday that Ukraine and Russia would soon find a solution to the natural gas problem. "We are planning to complete talks in the near future," Yekhanurov said. He said the problem was not related to energy supplies from the Ukrainian border to other countries.
"Ukraine has always been a reliable partner in energy transit issues via Ukrainian territory," Yekhanurov said.
The prime minister said Ukraine's energy dependence was an important issue, noting that a Ukrainian delegation will soon fly to the central Asian republic of Turkmenistan to discuss natural gas supplies.
Ukraine has been insisting that Russian gas supplies and transit be continued on the same terms as in 2005, despite earlier top-level agreements to move to European prices and tariffs.
For the past five years, Russia has been selling natural gas to Ukraine for $50 per 1,000 cu m against the reference price of $80. During this period, European gas prices have nearly doubled. Now the market net back price for Ukraine is estimated at $160 per 1,000 cu m.