Ukraine threatens to sue Russia over gas

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Ukraine will take Russia to the Stockholm court of arbitration if the two sides fail to resolve their latest energy dispute by mid-October, a top Ukrainian official warned on Wednesday.

"If we do not reach an agreement, Ukraine will go to court," the senior official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Ukraine has been trying to renegotiate the terms of a controversial 2009 gas deal that it signed with Russia after briefly having its supplies cut off in a Kremlin move that also affected parts of Europe.

The 10-year deal sets a higher prices for Ukraine than some EU members states and has been condemned by some members of President Viktor Yanukovych's new government.

Yanukovych's political rival Yulia Tymoshenko is currently on trial on charges of abuse of power for signing the deal while prime minister. She is currently detained.

Yanukovych had an unproductive meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August and later sent his energy minister to Moscow for more talks.

Russia has said it was willing to lower the price from the $400 Ukraine currently pays for 1,000 cubic metres if Kiev joined a new Moscow-led customs union and gave up a 50 percent stake in its state energy company Naftogaz.

Ukraine has flatly rejected the idea and insists it remains interested in EU membership within the next 10 years.

© 2011 AFP

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