Opposition leaders in Ukraine have severely criticized the agreement reached between the country's government and Russia over imported gas prices. Meanwhile, the president of Ukraine Viktor Yuschenko has hailed the deal as a sign that the country is adjusting to the rigors of competitive markets.

The Ukrainian economy is prepared for the new conditions in the market, the presidential press service said, quoting Mr Yuschenko.

In a report from the Interfax news agency, the president is also reported as saying that Ukraine backed the liberalization of the price for gas according to a transparent formula based on European guidelines.

However, Interfax also reports that Natalia Vitrenko, leader of the main pro-Russian opposition in Ukraine, has called for a special hearing of the country’s parliament to discuss the impeachment of the president on the grounds that the agreement with Gazprom could cause lasting damage to the country’s economy.