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The Ukrainian economy is unlikely to survive having
The Ukrainian economy is unlikely to survive having to pay a gas price of over $250 per 1,000 cubic meters, the leader of Ukraine's pro-Russian opposition said on Monday.

The prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine agreed Sunday in Moscow on a 2009 gas price for Ukraine and gas transit tariffs. The deal would see Kiev paying 20% less than the European market price, expected to be around $450 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter.

"We thought a price somewhere between $230 and $250 would be the maximum," Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych said, commenting on a gas price that the Ukrainian economy could cope with.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Sunday after talks with Yulia Tymoshenko that Ukraine would pay the European price for Russian natural gas with a 20% discount this year while Kiev would not increase the current transit fees it receives for Russian gas.

The two premiers are expected to sign the appropriate documents later on Monday. Natural gas supplies to Europe are expected to be resumed after the deal is signed.

Ukraine paid $179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in 2008. Russian energy giant Gazprom had insisted on a market price of $450 for 2009.

Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine on January 1 after the former Soviet neighbors failed to agree on debt and prices for 2009. A week later, Gazprom cut off gas supplies to the European Union, saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers, an accusation Kiev denied.

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