Tymoshenko Wants to Scrap Gas Deal

KIEV -- Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister poised to return to office, wants to scrap a natural gas accord with Russia, raising concern that a price dispute between the two countries could be repeated.

Ukraine agreed Tuesday to pay Russia $179.50 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas next year, while it initially only expected to pay up to $160. Russia, which supplies a quarter of Europe's gas supply mainly through Ukraine, will pay its former Soviet Union partner a transit fee of $1.70 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas per 1,000 kilometers, compared with the $1.60 that it pays now.

"The price of $179.50 per thousand cubic meters of gas shows the fiasco of the current Cabinet's energy policy," said Tymoshenko in a statement on her web site Wednesday. "We will have a chance to start talks again with Russia after the new Cabinet is formed."

Tymoshenko is set to return as prime minister after President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party and an alliance led by Tymoshenko agreed to form a coalition after winning elections.