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Ukrainian Panel Approves New Gas Venture


A Ukrainian government committee has approved the creation of a new joint venture to deliver Russian and Central Asian natural gas to Ukraine.

The approval paves the way for the signing of a gas supply deal with Russia, which ended a bitter price dispute between Moscow and Kiev earlier this year.

Under the deal, the new venture called UkrGazEnergo will oversee gas sales to Ukrainian consumers. It will be co-owned by Naftogaz Ukraine and RosUkrEnergo, which is co-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom and a group of unidentified investors.

A draft agreement, reached January fourth, 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. The opposition challenged the deal as a betrayal of national interests.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.