Russia: No Changes to Controversial Gas Contract With Ukraine

Russia will not change its controversial gas contract with Ukraine, the head of Russia’s state gas company Gazprom Alexei Miller said after a Kyiv meeting between Russian and Ukrainian officials.

“As of today we see no grounds for reviewing the prices. The prices are absolutely market prices. I can say that prices for Ukraine are considerably lower than for some European countries,” Miller told Interfax newsWednesday. He added that Ukraine has made no complaints to Moscow about the legality of the 2009 gas contract.

The Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy told the press in April that Ukraine will not try to change the contract with Russia, and will keep paying the set price until the contract expires. However, Ukraine has been pushing Russia to revise the contract for the past two years, stating that the gas price in the contract is unfairly high.

The former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of office, related to her participation in the crafting of the contract with Gazprom.

“Our government made a mistake of signing an unfair 10-year contract, and 46 million Ukrainians are paying for it” the Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said.

Despite the pressure from Europe and the United States, Ukraine is refusing to free Tymoshenko – viewed by many as a victim of political persecution. Her trial and imprisonment are a major stumbling block in the economic negotiations between Ukraine and the European Union.