Ukraine reduced its natural gas imports by 19.8 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2013, official figures showed on Monday. Ukraine imported around 19.711 billion cubic meters of natural gas in January-September, down from 24.579 billion cubic meters in the same period a year ago, the Coal and Energy Ministry said in a statement. In the first nine months of 2013, Ukraine consumed 34.695 billion cubic meters of gas, down from 37.396 billion cubic meters in January-September 2012, the statement said. Struggling to ease its dependence on costly gas imports, Kiev is seeking to reduce its gas consumption by around 10 percent to 50 billion cubic meters this year. In 2013, Kiev is planning to buy 27.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas, of which 18 billion cubic meters from Russia. Currently, Ukraine is paying nearly 410 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas and 397 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of fuel imported from Europe.