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    Ukraine Gets Ready to Sue Russia Over Gas

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    "Gas" disputes between Ukraine and Russia could come to court. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said that all the documents are ready for this. The details are from our correspondent.

    Ukraine is preparing to take its gas dispute with Russia to an arbitration court, says Ukrainian President Viktor Yonukovych in an interview for the newspaper "Kommersant" on Wednesday.

    Yanukovych believes Kyiv is paying unreasonably high prices for Russian gas. He wants to pay the same rate Germany is paying - currently 200 US dollars less per thousand cubic meters than Ukraine.

    [..]

    In the 3rd quarter of this year, Ukraine is paying about 355 US dollars per thousand cubic meters. Fair market price, according to Prime Minister Azarov is around250 US dollars per thousand cubic meters.

    Moscow says it's ready to lower the price, but under one of two conditions. One, if Ukraine agrees to join a Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. And two, if Ukraine agrees to a merger of Russian gas giant Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine.

    But Kyiv finds neither option acceptable.

    [..]

    But Gazprom's Alexei Miller says Ukraine shouldn't expect special treatment and cheap gas.

    [...]

    Ukraine hopes to resolve the issue before resorting to the courts. But even if it does come to international arbitration, experts believe that a gas war is unlikely.

    [Volodymyr Saprykin, Energy Expert]:
    "If in the near future an agreement is not reached, there is no other way for Ukraine but to go to court. Let me remind you that this is a normal, civilized step when the two companies cannot solve certain problems. That is, it's not the beginning of a war."

    In the meantime, experts urge Ukraine to look for alternative suppliers of natural gas, to increase production of its own gas and to develop alternative energy sources.

    NTD, Kyiv, Ukraine