The gas contract signed with the Ukrainian government led by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was economically justified, and the deal's price setting formula was the same as the one applied to all of the consumers in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference on Thursday.

"We actively worked with the Ukrainian government headed by Tymoshenko as well. We worked very vigorously in all the areas. By the way, it was her government that signed the gas contract then. And I have always thought that this contract is absolutely economically justified," he said.

This contract fully complied with "our practice of work with other foreign partners," Putin said.

"Its price setting formula is the same as the one that is valid for all of our consumers in Europe. One should not imagine anything else there," he said.

This contract was "not designed to strangle anyone," the president said.

"It was said quite fairly from the very beginning, including in Ukraine, that if we want to be independent, we need to pay for this, behave as an independent country and obey the norms accepted in European and world practice," Putin said.

Putin said that the gas deal signed with Ukraine in 2009 was governed by these standards.

On December 17, after a session of the Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would place part of reserves from its National Welfare Fund in the amount of $15 billion in Ukrainian government securities.

In addition, Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine signed a supplement to the January 19, 2009 contract on natural gas deliveries. Putin said that the document permits Gazprom delivering gas to Ukraine at $268.5 for 1,000 cubic meters down from $400 now.

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