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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Yushchenko to discuss direct gas supplies in Turkmenistan

RIA Novosti

02:20 14/09/2009 KIEV/ASHGABAT, September 14 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will pay a visit to Turkmenistan on September 14-16 to discuss direct gas supplies from the Central Asian state, his press service said on Monday.

The Ukrainian leader will arrive at the Central Asian state late on Monday. Talks between Yushchenko and his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, are slated for Tuesday.

In 1990s Ukraine annually received some 35 billion cubic meters of natural gas, supplied directly from Turkmenistan. In early 2000s Russian energy giant Gazprom began re-exporting Turkmen gas to the ex-Soviet state.

"First of all, the talks will focus on the resumption of direct supplies of Turkmen gas to Ukraine, as well as trade, economic and military cooperation," the press service of the Ukrainian president said in a statement.

Kiev announced in early August that it was ready to buy up to 15 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas annually. It was also ready to operate a leg of the Nabucco gas pipeline project, intended to pump gas to Europe bypassing Russia.

Russian gas supplies to the EU were interrupted for two weeks in January over a bitter pricing and debt row between Moscow and Kiev. Russia supplies about 80% of its Europe-bound gas via Ukraine.