©2006 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

U.S. CRITICIZES RUSSIA OVER GAS DISPUTE WITH UKRAINE... U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Washington on 5 January that Russia was wrong to launch its recent "politically motivated" natural-gas dispute with Ukraine and warned Moscow to stick to international rules, Reuters reported. "The game just can't be played [by making arbitrary changes]," she said, adding that "when you say you want to be a part of the international economy and you want to be a responsible actor in the international economy, then you play by its rules." Rice feels that international attention will be paid to the "distance between Russia's behavior on something like this and what would be expected by a leader of the G-8," whose rotating chair Russia now holds (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 2006). She pointed out that Moscow launched the gas dispute "with an obvious political motive" and noted that "it was ironic and not good that they [cut back supplies on 1 January], the day they became G-8 chairman." PM

...AS PUTIN SEEKS TO REASSURE THE EU OVER GAS SUPPLIES... President Putin told Gazprom Chairman Aleksei Miller at a Moscow meeting on 4 January that the Russian-Ukrainian gas agreement "creates stable conditions for Russian gas supply to European customers for many years ahead," Reuters reported. But Martin Bartenstein, who is economy minister of Austria, which holds the rotating EU chair, said in Brussels that the EU must reduce its dependency on Russia and other outside suppliers by making more efficient use of energy, improving infrastructure, and making greater use of renewable energy sources. He added that he hopes the Russian-Ukrainian agreement "will ensure...the long-term security of supply of gas" to the EU. PM

FORMER UKRAINIAN PREMIER TO CHALLENGE GAS DEAL IN COURT... Yuliya Tymoshenko said on 5 January that she will challenge in court the deal Ukraine reached with Russia's Gazprom, Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. "It is necessary to cancel all [gas] deals that contradict national law," Tymoshenko said. She also pledged to request that the Prosecutor-General's Office open a criminal case against Ukraine's state gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and the Energy Ministry. Under the deal, RosUkrEnergo -- a Swiss-based joint venture between Gazprom and Austria's Raiffeisen Zentralbank -- will purchase gas from Gazprom at $230 per 1,000 cubic meters and sell it to Ukraine for $95 per 1,000 cubic meters (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 2006). Tymoshenko has denounced RosUkrEnergo, which was set up by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's government, as a "criminal canker on the body" of Naftohaz Ukrayiny, Reuters reported on 5 January. Critics have said the complicated and opaque arrangement could lead to widespread corruption, Reuters reported. BW

...AS OPPOSITION CALLS FOR PRESIDENT'S IMPEACHMENT AND PRIME MINISTER'S RESIGNATION... Natalya Vitrenko, leader of the opposition Progressive Socialist Party, has called on the Verkhovna Rada to begin impeachment proceedings against President Viktor Yushchenko over the gas deal Kyiv signed with Russia, Interfax reported on 5 January. Meanwhile, the opposition movement Ne Tak, which is led by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, called the deal "destructive for the country's economy" and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov. Russia and Ukraine struck a gas deal on 4 January. BW

...AND UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS DEFEND DEAL. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and Naftohaz Ukrayiny Chairman Oleksiy Ivchenko defended the gas deal in a briefing for foreign diplomats on 5 January, saying it is in the interests of both Moscow and Kyiv, Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. Speaking to ambassadors from various EU countries as well as from the United States, Canada, Japan, Bulgaria, Turkey and representatives from the European Commission, Tarasyuk said the agreement ends the possibility for Moscow to pressure Kyiv with ultimatums. Tarasyuk added, however, that Ukraine has come to the conclusion that it should not rely on a single supplier for gas in the future. "We have plans to work with a number of countries on alternative routes of gas supplies to Ukraine and other countries," he said. BW

UKRAINE DISCOVERS NEW GAS RESERVES IN KHARKIV. Additional reserves of natural gas have been discovered at Ukraine's gas-condensate field in Kharkiv Oblast, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 5 January. The press service of the oblast administration said the reserves were discovered after the opening of a new well in the field. Kharkiv Governor Arsen Avakov said that as a result of the new reserves, the region would increase gas production by 3-5 percent in 2006. "But if there are further pleasant surprises like this, I think the growth will be higher," Avakov said. BW

UKRAINE TO ASSIST MOLDOVA WITH GAS SUPPLIES. Moldovan Industry Minister Vladimir Antosii said on 5 January that Ukraine has agreed to supply natural gas to Moldova until Chisinau can reach an agreement with Russia's natural-gas monopoly Gazprom, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. With Ukraine's support, Moldova will be able to hold talks with Russia over gas supplies for a longer time, he said. Gazprom, which is seeking to raise the price Moldova pays for natural gas from $80 per 1,000 cubic meters to $160, shut off supplies earlier this week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 2006). Chisinau is currently holding talks with Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan on gas supplies. Antosii also said Chisinau and Kyiv are developing a coordinated plan to reduce gas consumption. BW