©2003 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With the kind permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, InfoUkes Inc. has been given rights to electronically re-print these articles on our web site. Visit the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service page for more information. Also visit the RFE/RL home page for news stories on other Eastern European and FSU countries.

Return to Main RFE News Page
InfoUkes Home Page

ukraine-related news stories from RFE

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL FINDS BELARUS TO BE LEAST CORRUPT IN CIS. According to Transparency International's "Corruption Perceptions Index 2003" released on 7 October, Belarus is 53rd on a list of 133 studied countries. Belarus, which received 4.2 of a possible 10 points, is the highest-ranked country among the post-Soviet republics constituting the Commonwealth of Independent States. Ukraine is 106th with the same number of points as last year, 2.3. Poland, with a score of 3.6, is ranked with Mexico at 64. JM

MINSK PROPOSES RESUMING TALKS ON SALE OF GAS PIPELINE OPERATOR TO GAZPROM. Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Alyaksandr Sivak said on 7 October that the Belarusian government has proposed resuming talks next week with Gazprom on the creation of a joint-stock company based on Beltranshaz, the operator of Belarusian oil pipelines, Belapan reported. "It is a proposal to hold the second round of talks with old initial conditions," Sivak said. "I think they will be changed in the order to find a compromise." Minsk obliged itself to sell a share of Beltranshaz to Gazprom in exchange for a quota of cheap Russian gas under a 2002 agreement. Talks on the sale collapsed earlier this year after Minsk set the price of Beltranshaz at $5 billion. Moscow said Beltranshaz is worth just $1 billion. Moreover, Belarus did not agree to selling Gazprom a controlling stake in Beltranshaz. Last month, Moscow retaliated by announcing that, as of 2004, it will stop selling gas to Belarus at preferential prices (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 10 and 16 September 2003). JM

EU PLEDGES TO SUPPORT UKRAINE'S EUROPEAN ASPIRATIONS. European Commission President Romano Prodi, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana reassured Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Yalta on 7 October that the expanded EU will support Ukraine's reforms oriented toward European integration, Ukrainian and international media reported. "We want your country to be fully integrated into the European Union one day," Berlusconi, who is chairing the rotating EU Presidency, said at a news conference. "Without a doubt Ukraine is a European country, and we hope Ukraine will move quickly through the necessary stages," he added, noting that these stages mean obtaining World Trade Organization membership, achieving market-economy status, joining the EU free-trade zone, and gaining EU associate membership. "I admit quite openly that Ukraine is not ready for full-fledged EU membership by practically all criteria, but we are pursuing the ambitious task of achieving this goal," Kuchma said. JM

PREMIER CLAIMS UKRAINE HAS 'MARKET ECONOMY.' Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych told a conference called "Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood: Ukraine's Transition to a Developed Market Economy" in Washington on 7 October that Ukraine is a country with a functioning market economy, Interfax reported. "It is possible to state unambiguously that Ukraine has consciously chosen a development path toward a market economy and has crossed the Rubicon beyond which there is no return to the past," Yanukovych said. The Ukrainian Prime Minister met with U.S. Vice President Dick Chaney, who was reportedly interested in whether Ukraine wants to use the Odesa-Brody pipeline to pump oil from Odesa to Brody or in the "reverse mode" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October 2003). Yanukovych said Ukraine has not made a decision yet on Odesa-Brody, stressing that the pipeline will transport oil from the company that will offer the "best economic conditions" to Kyiv, UNIAN reported. He added that apart from the TNK-BP oil company, which wants to use Odesa-Brody to pump Russian crude in the "reverse mode," no other company has made any specific proposal for using the pipeline. JM

POLISH DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN LOSES JOB OVER FRENCH MISSILES SPAT. Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski on 7 October accepted the resignation of Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak, Polish media reported. Mleczak's statement on 3 October claiming that Polish soldiers in Iraq had found four French Roland-type antiaircraft missiles produced in 2003 provoked diplomatic discord between Warsaw and Paris last week (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 7 October 2003). France has said it ended the production of Roland-type missiles in 1993, and Szmajdzinski subsequently offered official apologies, saying the Polish soldiers incorrectly identified the production date. Polish Television suggested on 7 October that the "scandal" around the Roland missiles might further result in recalling some service personnel from the Polish military contingent in Iraq. JM

ARMENIA RULES OUT ACCESSION TO CIS SINGLE ECONOMIC SPACE. Armenia's current commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) preclude its accession in the near future to the CIS Single Economic Space (EEP), RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau quoted Industry Minister Karen Chshmaritian as telling journalists in Yerevan on 7 October. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine signed an agreement at last month's CIS summit in Yalta on the creation of the EEP. Chshmaritian said Armenia would discuss the possibility of joining that body only after its members join the WTO. LF