Prime Minister Mykola Azarov called on Wednesday for Ukrainians to keep their doors and windows tightly closed and conserve gas when cooking because of Ukraine's "enslaving" gas contract with Russia.
"We are asking our citizens to do their best to save energy. Because in conditions of the 'gas hole' dug for the whole population, the enslaving contract, closed windows, draft-proof doors [and] economical use of gas stoves are a matter of patriotism and survival," Azarov told a government meeting, referring to the 2009 gas deal with Russia.
Kiev and Moscow are currently in a row over gas prices, with Ukraine trying to revise the 10-year agreement that ties the price for gas to the price for oil, which has been rising recently. Azarov has said the deal was unfair and that Kiev was overpaying up to $6 billion a year for the gas.
Last week Ukraine said it would cut Russian gas purchases to 27 billion cubic meters from 40 bcm this year.
The spat intensified this week when Russia, which exports most of its gas to Europe via Ukraine, said that the Nord Stream, which runs on the bottom of the Baltic Sea to Europe bypassing transit states, would start working next month.