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Signing of Ukrainian-Russian Natural Gas Deal Put Off until Wednesday

Ukrainian authorities say Saturday's scheduled signing of a controversial natural gas deal with Russia has been postponed until Wednesday, to allow officials to complete work on documents.

Under the deal reached earlier this month after a three-day Russian suspension of deliveries, Ukraine agreed to buy gas from Russia at a rate of $95 per 1000 cubic meters, up from the previous rate of $50. But the agreement triggered a political crisis, and Ukraine's parliament voted to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov.

Lawmakers Thursday also endorsed the dismissal of Justice Minister Serhiy Holovaty and Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov.

News reports from Kiev say Mr. Plachkov may travel to Moscow Sunday for talks on gas supplies. Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, whose country is also a leading supplier of natural gas to Ukraine, will also be in Moscow Sunday.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters.