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Archive for February 26th, 2009

EU eyes Russia-Ukraine gas situation ‘very closely

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 16:40

EU eyes Russia-Ukraine gas situation ‘very closely

The European Union is following very closely reports of a new gas row between Russia and Ukraine, officials in Brussels said Thursday, two months after an earlier dispute crippled gas supplies to the bloc, DPA reported. The EU`s executive, the European Commission, is “following very closely the situation in bilateral commercial relations between Ukraine and Russia, because this could have an impact on supplies to the EU,” commission spokesman Ferran Tarradellas said. Nonetheless, “that does not imply that we are going to intervene,” he stressed.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian daily Kommersant reported that the country`s gas monopoly, Gazprom, was considering cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine in a row over alleged debts.

That follows an earlier dispute in January which saw Gazprom shut off all gas supplies to Ukraine, and through it to Europe, in a move which sparked widespread shortages in the EU.

Under the EU`s current rules, the bloc can only step in to help member states cope with gas cut-offs once industries and national governments have taken their own measures.

The commission is currently working on a revised version of the rules aimed at boosting solidarity and crisis management.

ForUm

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Ukraine shouldn’t change no-visa policy for EU citizens – Zvarych MP

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 17:37

Ukraine shouldn’t change no-visa policy for EU citizens – Zvarych MP

Ukraine should not change its policy regarding a no-visa regime for the EU citizens, Ukraine’s Roman Zvarych, MP, was speaking February 25 at the meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in Brussels, UKRINFORM reported.

Asked about Ukraine’s possible reaction to shortcomings in implementing a bilateral agreement on visa regime simplification on the part of a number of states, Zvarych noted that this circumstance should not be subject of automatic revision of own commitments on behalf of Ukraine. “It is likely necessary to ensure that the EU very thoroughly fulfills its tasks and commitments,” the politician said.

He underlined that the discussion between Ukraine and the EU on visa issues is in progress, in particular, regarding the principle of equality the EU sticks to in relations with other countries.

“Signs intimate that the visa dialogue is running more or less successfully. There is a prospect that we can reach not only a simplified visa regime, but also a no-visa regime for our citizens. A step-by-step movement is needed there,” the Ukrainian MP stressed.

At the February 25 meeting in Brussels, some disagreements emerged between the stands of the Ukrainian and European parties relative to the possible terms of introducing a no-visa regime of travelling to the EU countries for the Ukrainians. Head of the Ukrainian delegation Borys Tarasiuk noted that Ukraine is ready to work hard and back efforts of the European Commission to achieve a common goal – introduction of a no-visa regime for the Ukrainians even by 2012 (by the date of hosting UEFA EURO 2012 in Ukraine and Poland). According to him, “a long-term perspective” should be limited by the very temporary frames the Europeans are speaking about in the context of the visa dialogue with Ukraine.

ForUm

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Ukraine opposes construction of alternative gas pipelines – Kinakh

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 15:52

Ukraine opposes construction of alternative gas pipelines – Kinakh

Ukraine-EU cooperation in energy area should remain in focus of the process of Ukraine’s European integration, and in particular, its joining the European energy space, Anatoliy Kinakh, MP, member of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation, said in Brussels addressing the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, UKRINFORM‘s correspondent reports.

Kinakh recalled that under the terms of the long-term contracts for the next 10 years Russia had pledged to supply through Ukraine to the EU countries no less than 110 billion cu m of gas, or 70% of all imports to the European market. During this period Ukraine will be remaining a strategic transiter for the EU and a component part of its energy security.

“In this context we are concerned about an unconsolidated stand of the European countries as regards the energy policy. They do not demonstrate a common policy on the projects of the North and South Streams. At the same time, the European Commission knows that the Ukrainian gas transmission system (GTS) is now capable to deliver minimum 145 billion cu m of gas to the west border. The question arises then: why is it necessary to build alternative gas pipelines?,” the Ukrainian MP said.

A. Kinakh believes that “all – Russia, Ukraine and the EU” have lost” in the recent gas conflict. “And this circumstance should be taken into account in further consolidation of efforts, formation of the balance of interests of the consumer countries, transiter countries and supplier countries in frames of the creation of a transparent market – without monopolies or double standards,” he noted.

According to the parliamentarian, the ruling and opposition parties in Ukraine do not have disagreements on the need for the country’s economic and political integration with the EU, as well as regarding the importance to continue this policy.

ForUm

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Yushchenko: Ukrainian banks observe all IMF recommendations

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 15:01

Yushchenko: Ukrainian banks observe all IMF recommendations

Yushchenko: Ukrainian banks observe all IMF recommendations

The banking sector of Ukraine observes all recommendations of the International Monetary Fund, President Viktor Yushchenko declares.

“The banking system supports all criteria, provided by the IMF in the memorandum,” the President said during the meeting with G-7 ambassadors and representatives of IMF and World Bank on Thursday in Kyiv.

Yushchenko noted that the banking system of Ukraine is quite liquid and reminded and the order of bank capitalizations had been adopted and inspections of the majority of banks had been carried out.

According to Yushchenko, the problems the banking system is facing are “the problems of political and psychological character mainly.”

ForUm

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Europe asks Ukraine to prove it is not a gas thief

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 14:10

Europe asks Ukraine to prove it is not a gas thief

Europe asks Ukraine to prove it is not a gas thief

The Great Britain is ready to help Ukraine with membership in the European Union. John Grogan, the head of the parliamentary group “Britain-Ukraine”, declared speaking at the “Europe-Ukraine” forum, ForUm’s correspondent reported.

“We are true friends of Ukraine,” he said.

According to him, Ukraine should present the prospects for EU membership, including the next tranche of IMF.

In addition, speaking about the recent gas conflict he underlined that Europe does not mind forming a triumvirate “Russia-EU-Ukraine”.

“I think such decision might inspire Europe with certainty,” he assumed.

Mr Grogan stated that Ukraine had lost the information war in the gas conflict. He also noted that many in the EU believe Ukraine had been stealing gas indeed. “You should promote your positions more steady using your mass media representatives abroad,” John Grogan summed up.

ForUm

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Russia: Famine that killed millions not genocide

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 12:30
Russia: Famine that killed millions not genocide

Russia: Famine that killed millions not genocide

Russia issued a DVD and a thick book of historical documents on Wednesday to dispute claims that the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s amounted to genocide, the Associated Press reported.Russian archivists and historians pressed the Kremlin`s case that the Stalin-era famine — which killed millions of people — was a common tragedy across Soviet farmlands, countering efforts by Ukraine`s pro-Western president to convince the world that Ukrainians were targeted for starvation.

“Not a single document exists that even indirectly shows that the strategy and tactics chosen for Ukraine differed from those applied to other regions, not to mention tactics or strategy with the aim of genocide,” said Vladimir Kozlov, head of Russia`s Federal Archive Agency.

He said the famine was a direct result of Josef Stalin`s brutal collectivization campaign and the widespread confiscation of grain that was exported to secure equipment needed for the Soviet dictator`s frenetic industrialization drive.

Kozlov said the policy was class-based, targeting the kulaks — wealthy farmers seen as enemies of Communism — and was implemented virtually identically across the Soviet Union.

“There were no national or ethnic undertones,” he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko contends the famine was aimed at rooting out Ukrainian nationalism.

“Hunger was selected as a tool to subdue the Ukrainian people,” he said at a November ceremony marking the anniversary of what Ukrainians consider the onset of the 1932-1933 famine.

Ukrainian lawmakers and a U.S. commission have labeled the famine an act of genocide, and Yushchenko has pushed for more governments and international bodies to follow suit. However, neither the United Nations nor the European Union has done so.

The heated dispute over the past comes amid a mounting tug-of-war over the future of Ukraine, whose European aspirations and tight historical ties to Russia make for a potentially volatile mix.

Yushchenko is pushing for NATO membership, a prospect Russia has said it will do its utmost to prevent.

Russian officials have cast the genocide claim as part of an effort by Yushchenko to discredit Russia in he eyes of Ukrainians and the West.

Months before his death last summer, the renowned writer and Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn dismissed the genocide claim as a “fable” that could only fool the West.

On Wednesday, Alexander Dyukov, director of Historical Memory, a Moscow-based foundation that helped organize Wednesday`s news conference, said: “It is aimed, among other things, at inciting ethnic hate, at tearing Ukraine away from Russia.”

Journalists were given an English-language DVD and a 500-page book reproducing documents — some of them recently declassified — that are to be included in a three-volume study of the famine in the U.S.S.R. from 1929 to 1934.

They include letters portraying the dire situation at the time in what is now Russia and in other ex-Soviet republics and orders — some with Stalin`s stamped signature in red ink — denying pleas for a letup in grain procurement quotas. Other documents suggest officials in Ukraine misled Moscow about the extent of hunger there.

The famine`s death toll is disputed, but it is widely believed that it killed between 3 million and 7 million people in Ukraine.

Yushchenko has said as many as 10 million Ukrainians died, while Russian historian Valery Tishkov said more conservative estimates of 3.5 million deaths in Ukraine and 3.5 million in Russia are likely about twice the true toll.

Associated Press

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Ukraine to cut purchase of Russian gas by 20% in 2009

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 13:20

Ukraine to cut purchase of Russian gas by 20% in 2009

Ukraine to cut purchase of Russian gas by 20% in 2009

Naftogaz of Ukraine will decrease the purchase of Russian gas from Gazprom by 20% in 2009, UKRINFORM reported, referring to the Vedomosti newspaper. Therefore, Ukraine could buy around 33 billion cubic meters of gas this year.

The gas contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom foresees that Ukraine will buy 40 billion cubic meters of gas this year. The document also envisages that during one quarter, Naftogaz can decrease the amount of gas bought from the Russian company.

Fuel consumption is falling due to the crisis. Ukraine usually consumes around 70 billion cubic meters of gas each year, however, as a result of the crisis, the demand for fuel could fall by 30%, reads the newspaper.

In January 2009, Naftogaz and Gazprom agreed the gas price and signed a gas supply contract until 2019. This year, Ukraine will get Russian gas at a 20% discount on the market-oriented gas price set according to a special formula. Starting from 2010, the country will buy Russian gas without any discounts.

ForUm

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Gazprom may cut gas to Ukraine over non-payments

Posted by the Editor on February 26, 2009


News / 26 February 2009 | 11:40

Gazprom may cut gas to Ukraine over non-payments

Gazprom may cut gas to Ukraine over non-payments

Russian energy giant Gazprom could cut gas deliveries to Ukraine from March 8 if Naftogaz does not pay for supplies received in February, Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said Naftogaz does not have the money to pay for the gas, according to RIA Novosti.

A week ago Naftogaz warned it might face problems paying for gas supplied by Russia’s gas monopoly as non-payments by Ukrainian utilities were leaving the national energy company short of funds. The issue was discussed at a Gazprom board meeting on Tuesday.

“If $400 million is not forthcoming by March 7, it will be necessary once again to cut off Ukraine,” Andrei Kruglov was quoted as saying by an unidentified participant in the meeting. Kommersant said a senior Gazprom official confirmed such a plan is being developed.

“The company will carry out its obligations to consumers and transport gas at previous volumes. But the volume of gas delivered to Ukraine will be reduced – fuel will not be supplied to Naftogaz free of charge,” the source said.

Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Ukraine on January 1 over non-payments and the two sides’ failure to agree a delivery contract for 2009. A week later, Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas intended for EU consumers and cut off gas deliveries to the European Union via the country, prompting two weeks of major gas shortages across much of Eastern Europe.

The standoff was resolved after negotiations between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko. The gas supply and transit contract signed on January 19 by Gazprom and Naftogaz stipulates that the Russian energy giant can switch to 100% prepayments if payments are not received on time.

Naftogaz spokesman Valentin Zemlyansky on Wednesday told Kommersant that the company hoped “to collect the necessary sum of money by March 7 and to make the payment.”

Another company source said Naftogaz could find $100-$160 million, but did not say where the remaining funds would come from.

ForUm

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