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Ukraine Rejects IMF Calls to Raise Gas Prices

KIEV — Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday rejected calls by the International Monetary Fund to make domestic consumers pay more for gas, resisting an unpopular step before a presidential election due early in 2015.

The refusal to end subsidies in which state-run energy company Naftogaz sells gas to households and other domestic consumers at prices far below the level at which it buys from Russia will hurt Ukraine's chances if it seeks new IMF funding, as some observers expect it will be forced to.

"IMF demands to raise gas prices for households will not be accepted under any circumstances," Yanukovych said, the presidential press service reported.

"We will never allow measures which cause people to suffer and which adversely affect the financial state of our population."

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