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Signing of Ukraine-Russia Gas Deal Delayed

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov says the signing of a controversial natural gas deal with Russia has been postponed again.

The signing had already been delayed from Saturday to Wednesday. But Yekhanurov says experts continue to work on documents.

A draft agreement, reached January 4, calls for Ukraine to pay Russia $95 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, nearly twice as much as the previous rate.

The agreement triggered a political crisis in Ukraine, and parliament voted to dismiss the government.

Meanwhile, the prime minister urged Ukrainian industry to sharply cut the use of natural gas, warning that otherwise authorities will have to cut off supplies. Earlier, Russian officials again accused Ukraine of siphoning off supplies Russia is sending through Ukrainian pipelines to other European countries. Some had complained of reduced flows as they sought to deal with frigid temperatures.

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