The presidents of Russia and Ukriane have met in Sochi on the Black Sea to discuss a wide range of economic and political issues, chief among them the price Ukraine pays for gas. Energy has been a huge bilateral problem in recent years, and Ukraine’s pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich, is hoping to put this behind them.
“Concerning our current issues, we have always aimed at resolving any dispute. We have to find a compromise. I can not see any other way,” he said.
Although integration with other CIS nations and a regional customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan are also high on the agenda, it is gas that dominates Moscow-Kiev relations, and it affects Europe too, as a lot of Russian gas transits Ukraine westwards.
Gas is also what has brought former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko before a judge in Kiev, accused of exceeding her powers when signing a gas deal in 2009 with Russia. Her supporters say the trial is politically motivated, and Yanukovich promised he would take no part in it and was not seeking to imprison his leading political rival.