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GAZPROM SLAMS UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON GAS AGREEMENTS. Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in Moscow on June 22 that recent statements by Ukrainian Prime Minister-designate Yuliya Tymoshenko about reconsidering Ukraine's gas agreements with Russia are "threats that could lead to a new gas crisis," RIA Novosti reported (see Part 2, below). He added that "we believe that [her] words again prove that Ukraine is regrettably the weak link in the chain of Russia's gas supplies to Europe." He called Tymoshenko's remarks "a new alarm bell ringing for Europe." Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who heads the stockholders' oversight body for the planned North European Gas Pipeline running from Vyborg to Greifswald, expressed similar views about Ukraine in Moscow on June 19 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," June 19, 2006). PM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES FORMATION OF NEW GOVERNMENT WITH ORANGE ALLIES. President Viktor Yushchenko on June 23 met with leaders of the newly created coalition comprising the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine, and the Socialist Party to exchange opinions on the formation of parliamentary leadership and a new cabinet, UNIAN reported. Our Ukraine parliamentary caucus leader Roman Bezsmertnyy told journalists after the meeting that his party will decide on a candidate for the post of Verkhovna Rada speaker on June 26. He added that Petro Poroshenko and Anatoliy Kinakh are among the potential candidates. According to a distribution of government posts published by the "Ukrayinska pravda" website on June 22, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc will obtain the posts of prime minister and first deputy parliamentary speaker as well as nine ministerial portfolios, while Our Ukraine will be offered the posts of parliamentary speaker and deputy prime minister as well as five ministerial portfolios. After announcing the recreation of the Orange Revolution coalition in the Verkhovna Rada on June 22, the three parties voted to adjourn the parliamentary session until June 27, when they are expected to come up with a list of preferred candidates for top government jobs. JM
EXPECTED UKRAINIAN PREMIER VOWS TO REVIEW GAS DEAL WITH RUSSIA. Yuliya Tymoshenko, who is expected to return to post of prime minister in a freshly forged ruling coalition of her bloc with Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party, said on June 22 that the issue of gas supplies to Ukraine must be thoroughly revised, Ukrainian and international media reported. "All the relations on gas supplies to Ukraine now require further deep revision and review. And, of course, we must build new agreements on a friendly basis with the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan," Tymoshenko told journalists in Kyiv, shortly after the parliamentary session where she announced the restoration of the 2004 Orange Revolution coalition. In early January, Russia's Gazprom increased the price of gas supplied to Ukraine from $50 to $95 per 1,000 cubic meters. Revision of this deal was a major issue in Tymoshenko's campaign for the March 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine. Gazprom reacted to Tymoshenko's statement by saying that it opens the way for "a new gas crisis," according to Interfax (see Russia section). JM