While it's too early to outline formal details, a new natural gas price from Russia could save the Ukrainian government $6 billion per year, an official said.
"Once we agree on an acceptable price for gas, we gain roughly $500 million a month," the National News Agency of Ukraine quoted Prime Minister Mykola Azarov as saying. "This is $6 billion annually. If we had this resource this year, we would have no problems at all."
Kiev is lobbying for cheaper gas from Russia's Gazprom. With its economy in shambles from the global recession, the $400 per 1,000 cubic meters paid is putting strains on the Ukrainian economy.
The news report suggested the price would be roughly halved for Kiev, though Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying it was "premature" to speak of a formal pricing arrangement.
Opposition leader and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence for her role in the current gas deal, brokered in 2009. That deal returned gas supplies from Gazprom to Ukraine following disruptions brought on by contract disputes, though the current government has complained it was costly. She denies charges she abused her authority in that deal.