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Russian Gazprom raises price of gas to Ukraine

Kiev responds by hiking pipeline transit cost

01 April, 13:41
Russian Gazprom raises price of gas to Ukraine (ANSA) - Kiev, April 1 - Russian energy giant Gazprom raised the price of gas supplies to Ukraine on Tuesday, upping economic pressure on Kiev's fledgling government and sparking fears of a new gas dispute between the neighbouring countries.

Gazprom chief executive Alexiei Miller cancelled a discount awarded to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Ianukovich last December, increasing the price of gas from 268.5 dollars to 385.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.

Miller said the "price hike was due to the inability of the Ukrainian side to pay for debts from 2013 and realise full payments for current deliveries".

Ukraine currently owed around $1.7 billion to Gazprom, the chief executive added.

The previous discount had been seen by many as a sort of 'prize' for Yanukovich following his decision to scrap a deal with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow.

This decision sparked violent anti-government protests in Kiev that led to his ouster in February and the annexation by Russia of Ukraine's southeastern Crimea peninsular the following month. Kiev responded to Tuesday's price hike by raising by 10% the cost to Russia of transporting its gas through the Ukrainian section of pipeline to Europe.