Ukraine's new Prime Minister, Yuri Yekhanurov, is to hold talks in Moscow on his first foreign visit since being appointed earlier this month, BBC News reported.

He aims to improve bilateral ties damaged during Ukraine's Orange Revolution that brought President Victor Yushchenko to power last year.

Russia's gas supplies to Kiev will also be one of the key issues, experts say.

Yekhanurov replaced Yulia Timoshenko after she was sacked along with her entire government earlier this month.

Ms Timoshenko - one of the leaders of the mass street protests that swept Mr Yushchenko to power - refused to visit Moscow while she was in power, as she faced an arrest warrant on corruption charges. She denies the allegations.

Yekhanurov is considered a lot more favorably by the Kremlin, analysts say.

He was born in Russia and up until his latest appointment served as governor of the eastern region of Dnipropetrovs'k.

It is hoped he will be able to mend relations damaged during Ukraine's 2004 presidential election - during which Moscow supported Yushchenko's rival.

Yekhanurov is expected to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, officials say.

Russia's gas supplies to Kiev will also dominate the talks in Moscow.

Ukraine depends on Russia for much of its energy, and there are fears that gas prices could increase sharply this winter.

Such a move would have a devastating impact on Ukraine, the BBC's Helen Fawkes in Kiev reports.

Ukraine has already seen a dramatic decline in economic growth since Yushchenko took power and with a parliamentary election early next year it could also have an impact on voters, our correspondent says.


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