Thursday, November 19, 2009

Energy to top agenda for Putin, Tymoshenko Yalta conference

(MOSCOW) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet today with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko for talks on energy amid unease in Europe over possible cuts in gas supplies this winter, officials said. The two premiers, who have flaunted their strong relationship over the past months, are due to meet at the Livadia Palace in Yalta, the venue for the historic Yalta Conference in 1945 between Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, said a Ukrainian official. On Friday, Putin and Tymoshenko will join their counterparts from other post-Soviet states in an effort to ramp up cooperation in energy and create a joint air defense system, a Russian foreign ministry spokesman said. Energy issues are likely to top the Ukrainian agenda as Tymoshenko will seek better terms for Russian gas to help Ukraine's struggling economy ahead of the January presidential polls, in which she is a frontrunner, analysts say. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed gas issues will figure in the talks but denied that Putin and Tymoshenko would discuss the upcoming presidential polls in Ukraine.