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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

YUSHCHENKO ASSURES OSCE OF UKRAINE'S DEMOCRATIC COURSE. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko assured delegates to the 16th session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly in Kyiv that Ukraine will not stray from its course of democratic reform, Interfax reported on July 6. "I want you to take one great truth from Ukraine after the session -- there are no circumstances that would make Ukraine diverge from its democratic path," Yushchenko said. He added that the country will overcome its difficulties in a democratic and legal manner. The president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Goran Lennmarker, praised Ukraine's democratic achievements, and said the OSCE "completely supports Ukraine on its way to democracy." AM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SUSPENDS PUBLICATION OF BILLS UNTIL NEW PARLIAMENT CONVENES. President Yushchenko on July 5 signed a decree suspending the publication of legislation until a new parliament convenes, Ukrainian media reported. The decree prevents bills adopted by the dissolved Verkhovna Rada from coming into force. According to Ukrainian law, a bill becomes valid when it is published in official bulletins within 15 days of its adoption in parliament. Oleksandr Moroz, the speaker of the dissolved parliament, said Yushchenko's decree violates "fundamental constitutional principles." Preterm parliamentary elections in Ukraine are scheduled for September 30. AM

UKRAINE INTENDS TO OUST ROSUKRENERGO INTERMEDIARY IN GAS SUPPLIES. President Yushchenko will call on Russia to change the system of gas supplies to Ukraine into direct contracts, thus bypassing the intermediary company of RosUkrEnergo, which has become an exclusive gas supplier to Ukraine, Interfax and the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported on July 5. "If Ukraine and Russia set clear principles of gas pricing, the issue of gas suppliers will be of no importance," Yuschenko said. RosUkrEnergo supplied 50 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine in 2006, and exported another 8.9 billion cubic meters, earning $7.1 billion net. Yushchenko has not predicted the gas price for 2008, but added that the estimate given by some Russian sources, $235 per 1,000 cubic meters, is based on "a substantial political component." AM