Ukraine Delegation Heads For Gas Talks In Moscow

KIEV, March 23 (Reuters) - A Ukrainian delegation headed to Moscow on Tuesday for negotiations on a gas agreement with Russia, a spokesman for the state energy company Naftogaz said.

Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Boiko

The visit will be the first attempt by the new leadership of President Viktor Yanukovich to get a revision of what the Ukrainians say are onerous prices for Russian natural gas.

Yanukovich was quoted on the presidential Web site on Monday night as saying he wanted a series of bilateral agreements to be prepared for signing in time for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Kiev in mid-May.

"Among the priorities, Viktor Yanukovich named above all a new agreement on the price of gas," the Web site quoted him as saying in an account of a meeting with Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko.

The Naftogaz spokesman said the delegation, headed by Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Boiko and new Naftogaz chief Yevhen Bakulin, had left for Moscow and were expected to return at the end of the day.

Ukraine relies hugely on gas imports from Russia. But it has struggled to pay its gas bills under a 10-year agreement worked out in January 2009.

Source: Kyiv Post