Ukraine declines Russia's offer of gas discounts

Russia offered Wednesday to reinstate discounted natural gas prices it charged Ukraine last year, but Ukraine rejected the deal.

Ukraine wants cheaper gas prices, the Associated Press reports.

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During European Union-brokered talks Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin said he offered the discount as a "partnership deal."

"We believe that our offer is more than in a partnership spirit aimed to support the Ukrainian economy at a rather difficult time," Putin said. "But if our offers are rejected, this means, we will enter another stage, this is not our choice. We do not want it."

Ukraine's energy minister Yuri Prodan said his government now believes arbitration is the best option to resolve the dispute.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsenyuk said he declined the discounted price because there was no promise it would last. Ukraine said it is open to negotiation a temporary price for the current flow of natural gas to the country while arbitration is underway.

The tension over Ukraine's natural gas debts has sent waves through Easter Europe, which receives much of its gas supplies  from Russia through Ukraine.

U.S. lawmakers have urged the administration to speed up its approval process of natural gas exports to send a signal to markets and nation's abroad. Still, facilities won't be ready to export natural gas to countries like Ukraine until 2018.