KIEV, May 26 (RAPSI) -The Ukrainian government has instructed Naftogaz and the Energy Ministry to hire attorneys to represent them during the arbitration proceedings against Gazprom, according to a statement on the Cabinet of Ministers’ website.

“The Naftogaz of Ukraine national joint-stock company has been instructed to take measures to hire qualified and highly professional legal advisors to protect the rights and interests of Ukraine in resolving a dispute between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom,” the government’s statement says.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, earlier appointed acting prime minister of Ukraine by Verkhovna Rada, in his address to the European Commission and EU leaders regarding the distribution of Russian gas, claimed that Gazprom’s response to a pre-trial notice from Naftogaz indicates that the gas producer refuses to negotiate. Yatsenyuk also said that if nothing changes, Kiev will file a lawsuit with the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in late May.

Ukraine is requesting that Gazprom review a number of provisions in its contract with Naftogaz – first of all, reduction in the price that Kiev believes is unreasonably high. Ukrainian Minister of Energy Yuriy Prodan also said the existing debt for Russian gas– estimated at $3.5 bn by Gazprom – could also be reduced.