If Ukraine joins the Customs Union, it will see the price it pays for Russian gas fall to $160 per 1,000 cubic meters, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said in conversation with officials on Tuesday in Odesa.

"Russia is putting forth conditions to us: join the Customs Union, and tomorrow you will get gas for $160," he said.

In general, inclusion in the Customs Union would fall within Ukraine's national interests, since about 40% of the country's international trade is within the Customs Union (Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan), Azarov said.

On the other hand, Ukraine conducts about 30% of its trade with the European Union and, accordingly, joining a free trade area with the EU and political association with the EU would also "answer to the national interest," he said.

Azarov stressed that Ukraine does not want to have to choose between the Customs Union and a free trade area with the EU; it would rather work with all sides.

According to Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy, Russian gas cost the country about $416 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter, some $425 in the second, and around $426 in the third.

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