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Ukrainian President Suggests Extension in Natural Gas Price Talks

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has urged a 10-day delay in a planned price increase by Russia's state-run natural gas company, Gazprom, but Russia's RIA-Novosti news agency says the firm rejected the call.

Mr. Yushchenko's appeal came in a telegram to President Vladimir Putin Friday. The Ukrainian leader says the extension will give the sides more time to resolve the dispute over Gazprom's plan to quadruple the price it charges Ukraine for natural gas, from $50 to between $220 and $230 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas.

Earlier, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller told Russian television that gas supplies to Ukraine will be cut off at 10:00 a.m. on New Years Day unless there is an agreement.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov says his country has already made a deal with Turkmenistan on supplies in 2006 at what he called an objective and reasonable price.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.