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UKRAINE HOPES TO RECEIVE MARKET-ECONOMY STATUS FROM U.S. IN MARCH. Konstyantyn Tymoshenko, an adviser to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, said on 15 February that the United States will grant Ukraine market-economy status by the end of March, Interfax reported. "According to the information we have, the issue is in its final stage," Tymoshenko said. Ukraine has yet to sign protocols on free market access for goods and services with some countries, including the United States and Australia. Tymoshenko believes that Ukraine will sign the document with the United States before it signs with Australia, which put forward "unacceptable requirements with regards to sugar-related issues." AM

UKRAINE TO RENEGOTIATE TERMS OF BLACK SEA FLEET PRESENCE ACCORDING TO MARKET PRICES. Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko said that Ukraine intends to use market principles in negotiating the terms of the continued presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea, Interfax reported on 15 February. Ukrainian presidential adviser Tymoshenko confirmed that approach the same day, saying that the so-called Yushchenko-Putin commission, the newly formed bilateral group tasked with resolving issues related to the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine, will soon begin an inventory of the facilities and land plots used by the Russian fleet. The reported goal of that inventory is to set an individual rent payment for each facility and plot. According to Tymoshenko, the first meeting of the Yushchenko-Putin commission will be held in Kyiv in March. AM

POLAND EXPRESSES DOUBTS ABOUT UKRAINE'S CREDIBILITY. Polish Deputy Economy Minister Piotr Naimski said on 15 February that Poland wants to participate in extending the Odesa-Brody pipeline to Plock, but that the internal situation in Ukraine will ultimately determine the nature of Poland's involvement, Interfax reported. The extension of the pipeline is meant to help transport Caspian crude oil to Europe and to aid Poland in diversifying its own energy supplies. Naimski said Poland is seeking to determine whether "the internal situation in Ukraine will assure our partners that it is possible to make the kind of investment we want." Nafta Polska, the Polish oil-sector holding company, estimates the project will be economically viable once the pipeline is sending at least 20 million tons of oil to Poland a year and transporting an annual total of 40 million tons overall. AM