Putin, Tymoshenko To Discuss Russia-Ukraine Ties In Poland

MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia's prime minister will discuss bilateral ties between Moscow and Kiev with his Ukrainian counterpart during a working visit to Poland, a senior Russian government official has said.

Russia's prime minister Putin

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin will attend international events in Gdansk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II. The Russian premier will also meet with his counterparts from Poland, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Slovenia and Croatia.

"After talks with Polish premier [Donald Tusk], the Russian PM will meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. A host of issues, including natural gas, developments in Ukraine, bilateral ties and practical aspects of cooperation will be discussed," Yury Ushakov, a deputy government chief of staff, said.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been strained in recent years by natural gas disputes, Ukraine's desire to join NATO, and interpretations of the Soviet-era famine in Ukraine.

Tymoshenko signaled earlier this month that Ukraine plans to buy twice as less gas in 2010, 25 billion cubic meters, than was stipulated in the 2009-2019 contract signed by the two countries' state-owned gas giants, Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz.

Russia, which supplies around one quarter of Europe's gas, briefly shut down supplies via Ukraine's pipeline system at the start of the year during a dispute over Kiev's debt for supplies.

Ukraine transits around 80% of Russia's Europe-bound gas.

Source: RIA Novosti