April 3 - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk says Russia's increase in gas prices are ''absolutely unacceptable''. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Russia turns up the pressure on Ukraine -- hiking gas prices by 80 percent. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sat down with the head of Russia's top natural gas producer, Gazprom. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER, DMITRY MEDVEDEV, SAYING: "I have made a decision to cancel the government's decree number 291 from April 30, 2010. This decision entails direct consequences for Gazprom's future relations with our Ukrainian partners, consumers. You should follow the general duty rate for gas without any reductions or special tariffs." Moscow has frequently used energy as a political weapon in dealing with its neighbors. In an interview with Reuters, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk says it's a form of political brinksmanship. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, ARSENY YATSENIUK, SAYING: "Firstly, the price of 468 dollars is absolutely unacceptable. Secondly, the Russian Federation completely understands this. Thirdly, there are no reasons for Russia to increase the gas price to Ukraine from 260 dollars to 460 dollars - except one reason." There are fears Russia might again cut off deliveries in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, ARSENY YATSENIUK, SAYING: "We expect Russia to go further in terms of pressure on the gas front, including limiting gas supplies to Ukraine" Russia supplies Ukraine with about 50 percent of its gas needs. It has moved to squeeze Ukraine's faltering economy after protesters toppled its pro-Moscow president, installing new leaders bent on pursuing closer ties with the EU.