Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov declares there would be no new "gas war" between Russia and Ukraine.

"Why should we be at war with our Russian brothers? It is an absurd question, we will never even talk about it," Azarov told reporters after an opening ceremony of "Kyiv-Irpen" road, ForUm correspondent reports.

"Every side has its economic interests. In this case Russia has got an advantageous paper (gas contracts) and holds it with both hands. But we say there is also life, not only papers. We will come to an agreement," Azarov assured.

Azarov also told reporters that Ukraine could use coal produced in the country as fuel in some industries due to the high gas prices.

"Coal use is rational and economically reasonable when gas costs $416 per 1,000 cubic meters as it is now. The main goal is to start using our own fuel where it is possible," Azarov said.

As reported, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko said on Wednesday that Ukraine was seeking to cut Russian gas imports to 27 billion cubic meters from the contracted volume of 52 bcm. Russian gas giant Gazprom reacted by saying the current contract did not stipulate unilateral changes in gas purchase volumes.

Under the existing contract, Ukraine could reduce gas imports from Russia in 2012 by no more than 20 percent.

The original 2009 gas contract stipulated annual gas purchases of 52 billion cubic meters by Ukraine. Supplements made to the contract reduced the contracted amount of gas to be supplied to Ukraine in 2010 to 33 billion cubic metes in the wake of the Ukrainian 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Last year, Ukraine purchased 40 billion cubic meters from Russia.

The contract stipulates penalties for Ukraine's failure to purchase no less than 80 percent of the annual contracted volume. Based on the contracted volume of 52 bcm, Ukraine must pay for at least 41.6 bcm in 2012.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said late on Thursday that Ukraine was likely to stop gas talks to change the price for 2012 because time for negotiations was lost, but would try to change gas prices for 2013.

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