Ukraine will reduce its gas imports from Russia in the next few years due to its high price, President Viktor Yanukovych said on Tuesday.
"We have reduced gas purchases from Russia to 27 billion cubic meters [this year] from 41 bcm [in 2011]. We also plan to curtail our purchases in the next few years. The only reason is that we don't have this amount of money to pay for it and the (gas) price is unbearable," Yanukovych said.
Russia and Ukraine have been embroiled in a drawn-out dispute over the price and volume of Russian gas purchased by Ukraine. Kiev insists the current price is too high, while Moscow is pushing for control of Ukraine’s system of gas transit to Europe, as part of a deal to cut prices.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko announced this January that the country was seeking to cut Russian gas imports to 27 billion cubic meters from the 2012 contracted volume of 52 bcm. Russian gas giant Gazprom reacted by saying the current contract did not stipulate unilateral changes in gas purchases.
Last week Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that Moscow had sent a new gas proposal to Kiev stipulating a 10 percent discount in the gas price, which Ukraine was considering.