9. PUTIN OFFERS THREE MONTH DELAY ON GAS PRICE HIKE IF UKRAINE AGREES TO NEW PRICE, OFFERS ENDS SATURDAY

BBC NEWS, UK, Saturday, December 31, 2005

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to delay a gas
price hike for Ukraine by three months in a compromise to end an
increasingly bitter dispute. Mr Putin made his offer at a meeting of his
powerful Security Council attended by Gazprom head Alexei Miller.

If Kiev signs up to the deal by the end of Saturday, the current price of
$50 per 1,000 cubic metres will remain until April, when it will rise to
$230. Ukraine says the proposed quadrupling of its gas bill is unacceptable.
If no agreement is reached, Russian gas supplier Gazprom plans to turn off
the supply at 0700 GMT on Sunday.

“I instruct the government and Gazprom to ensure gas deliveries in the first
quarter of 2006 with the conditions and rates of 2005, on the condition that
before the end of today the Ukrainian partners sign the contract with
Gazprom’s offer for switching to market prices in the second quarter,” Putin
said in remarks broadcast by Russian TV. There was no immediate Ukrainian
reaction. -30-

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