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Europe suffers gas cuts after Russia move
Updated: 2006-01-02 10:08

Moscow has said it wants Ukraine to pay close to world market prices at a level of 230 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres, compared to the 50 dollars Kiev currently pays.

Ukraine, a country of 48 million people, depends on Russia for around a third of its gas supply.

Another Russian political analyst, Viktor Kremenyuk from the US-Canada Institute in Moscow believes the Ukrainian president wants to build up tension with Moscow to fulfil his long-term strategic objectives, including joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ( NATO).

"What mars this bid is a Russia-Ukraine agreement on the port of Sebastopol and the cooperation between Russian and Ukrainian defence enterprises," the analyst said, referring to the Ukrainian port that houses Russia's Black Sea fleet.

"If the situation gets worse and becomes dramatic, he could invoke Moscow's hostility against Ukraine to denounce the Sebastopol agreement," Kremenyuk told AFP.

Kremenyuk said that even if Ukraine took some of the Russian gas being pumped through Ukrainian territory on its way to Europe, it would not risk negative reactions on the part of the West.

"Europe will take pity on poor Ukraine. In Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries and Poland there has always been animosity towards Russia," he said.

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