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Ukraine to Decrease Gas Imports

KIEV — Ukraine, wanting to cut its dependence on expensive Russian natural gas, plans to reduce imports from its neighbor next year to 24.5 billion cubic meters from 27 billion in 2012, a Ukrainian energy official said.

Ukraine imported 40 bcm of Russian gas in 2010.

"This year, we will import 27 billion cubic meters while we have sent to Russia a request to buy 24.5 billion cubic meters in 2013," the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters on Thursday.

The ex-Soviet republic, whose economy depends heavily on strategic energy supplies from Russia, wants to revise a 2009 gas deal with Moscow, saying it set prices that were too high.

But Moscow says it will cut prices only if Russia's giant gas export monopoly Gazprom is allowed to buy into the pipelines that carry Russian gas across Ukraine to markets further west in Europe. Kiev has so far refused to agree to this.

Ukraine is trying to replace some imports of Russian natural gas by drawing on its own limited resources of the fuel and by making more use of its abundant coal reserves.

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