"Even if a gas agreement with Russia is concluded, it does not mean [the creation of] a union," Reuters quoted the Uzbek minister as saying.

"If we import gas from another country, we cooperate only on the basis of a commercial sales contract.

We will never accept political terms in exchange for gas.

In a word, we will receive the gas contract offered to us only if we agree to it, otherwise not," said

Zhurabek Mirzamakhmudov.

At the same time, the Minister of Energy of Uzbekistan reported that his country has not yet received a corresponding offer from Russia.

Reuters writes that Uzbekistan's "cold" attitude to the Russian proposal reflects Moscow's increasing difficulty in imposing its will on other former Soviet republics at a time when it is increasingly mired in the war in Ukraine.

"However, Uzbekistan remains partially dependent on foreign gas.

Over the past few days, gas shortages have been observed in the country, including the capital Tashkent, due to a sharp increase in consumption due to the cold weather.

Mirzamakhmudov said that the cold weather forced Uzbekistan to stop exporting to China," the agency reported.

Uzbekistan produces about 52 billion of natural gas per year.

On November 28,

during a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation,

Mikhail Mishustin , the President of Kazakhstan

, Kassym-Zhamart Tokaev

, talked about the proposal of President Vladimir Putin to create a tripartite union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, including to solve issues in the gas sphere.

"Today Uladzimir Uladzimirovich spoke about the fact that we need to create a tripartite union, and he is going to call the President of Uzbekistan.

We also need to delve into this topic, at least for me, not to mention our specialists, in order to reach the desired result and agreement.

Why not?"

- said Takaev.

In June, Kassym-Zhamart Tokaev refused to support Russia's position in a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and, in the presence of Putin, called the so-called "DPR" and "LPR" quasi-state territories at a forum in St. Petersburg.