UKRAINE TO GET MORE CREDITS FROM WORLD BANK, EBRD. World Bank President James Wolfensohn pledged in Kyiv last week that his bank will soon allocate $70 million to complete a program restructuring Ukraine's coal sector, which was launched in 1996, the "Eastern Economist Daily" reported on 9 October. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov commented that the loan will improve the country's financial situation but will not prevent the government from making budget cuts this year. Wolfensohn also promised to send a mission to Kyiv to discuss the allocation of $100 million to support Ukraine's financial sector. Meanwhile, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has signed an agreement with Kyiv on issuing a $100 million credit for the purchase of fuel for four Ukrainian energy generating companies. JM
UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION NEWSPAPER APPEALS OVER STATE 'PRESSURE.' Oleh Lyashko, chief editor of the opposition newspaper "Svoboda," has sent an open letter to the ambassadors in Kyiv of EU countries, the U.S., Russia, and Japan asking for help in purchasing printing equipment to publish his newspaper, Interfax reported on 6 October. Lyashko's letter mentions 14 publishing houses that had agreed to publish "Svoboda" but subsequently refused to do so while continuing to publish other newspapers. "Thus, we have every reason to say that the refusal of these publishers to print our newspaper was connected with pressure exercised on them by state bodies," Lyashko wrote. JM
KALUZHNY OPPOSES MOVING OIL THROUGH IRAN. Vladimir Putin's personal envoy for the Caspian region, Viktor Kaluzhny, has voiced strong objections to any north-south oil transport corridor through Iran, gazetaSNG.ru reported on 2 October. He said Transneft's effort to promote such a project reflected political rather than economic calculations. But such a route would leave Russia's own refineries operating at less than full capacity and thus would be "very harmful" to the country's national interests, Kaluzhny stressed. He said that he favors the Baltic Pipeline System (BTS), which would bypass the Baltic countries and Ukraine, and the Caspian Consortium (KTK) that Russia dominates. "Only the development of BTS and KTK will create a situation when all of the oil will pass through Russian territory," the presidential representative said.
MOSCOW PUSHES UKRAINE ASIDE ON EAST-WEST ENERGY CORRIDOR. Romano Prodi, the chairman of the European Union, telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to say that the EU supports the creation of the east-west energy corridor proposed by Russia, Russian agencies reported on 4 October. Under its terms, Gazprom will sign agreements with major German, French, and Italian concerns to provide gas for 20 years. To support that effort, the two sides will construct new oil and gas pipelines from Russia to Europe. Gazprom Chairman Petr Rodionov told "Vedomosti" on 4 October that this project would require the construction of "at least seven major pipelines both to meet our obligations and to keep Ukraine out of this."