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MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly said early Sunday that Ukraine had refused its last offer on the terms of natural gas deliveries and transit in 2006, setting the stage for Moscow to close the taps on New Year's Day.
The announcement came after a midnight deadline that Gazprom and President Vladimir Putin had given Ukraine to decide on what price it would pay next year.
Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told The Associated Press that Gazprom had sent its Ukrainian counterpart a signed contract offering the terms Putin had hours earlier: to maintain Ukraine's current fuel price for three months if Kiev agreed to pay more thereafter.
Putin said his offer was only valid until the end of the day -- 10 hours before a threatened cutoff of supplies to Ukraine.
"We received an official answer from the Ukrainian side," Kupriyanov said. The answer said: "'We cannot sign it,' and that is all."
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