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Archive for June, 2010

Ukraine plans to have fully professional army by 2015

Posted by the Editor on June 25, 2010


News / 25 June 2010 | 14:42

Ukraine plans to have fully professional army by 2015

Ukraine plans to have fully professional army by 2015

Ukraine must have a fully professional army by 2015, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“We are planning to complete by 2015 the full transition of the Ukrainian military forces from a mixed recruiting system to a new model based solely on contracted service,” the ministry quoted head of the personnel policy department Maj. Gen. Serhiy Kropyvchenko as saying.

Ukraine has long been making plans for a transition to a fully professional army, but low defense budgets (currently only 1% of GDP) have hampered the process.

At present, over 52% of the military personnel in the country’s 200,000-man Armed Forces are professional soldiers.

Ukrainian soldiers also serve under NATO command in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean.

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Tymoshenko: my government defended the state’s interests during the gas crisis

Posted by the Editor on June 25, 2010


News / 25 June 2010 | 12:50

Tymoshenko: my government defended the state's interests during the gas crisis

Tymoshenko: my government defended the state’s interests during the gas crisis

Yulia Tymoshenko is urging the Prosecutor General’s Office and Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to not persecute her government team that while she was prime minister cleared through customs 11 billion cubic meters of gas, because they were carrying out her orders.

“I am fully responsible for everything that happened with regard to the 11 billion cubic meters of gas. These people were carrying out my instructions, they were supporting Ukraine’s national interests, they were defending Ukraine and giving the country a chance to survive this difficult economic and financial crisis,” Yulia Tymoshenko said during a press conference in Zaporizhzhia, according to BYuT press office.

Yulia Tymoshenko emphasized that she personally gave orders to clear through customs 11 billion cubic meters of gas “to the leadership of the customs service, the director of Naftohaz, and all other government agencies that were working to resolve the gas crisis.”

“The fact that they’re summoning the deputy director of Naftohaz Mr. Didenko to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the SBU, that they’ve arrested the former head of the customs service Mr. Makarenko, are dragging the Naftohaz accountants and ordinary customs officials to the SBU and prosecutor’s office indicates that they’re trying to get these people to testify as to how I was involved in all the processes to resolve the gas crisis at the start of the year, and the customs clearance of 11 billion cubic meters of gas at a rather reasonable price,” she said.

There is no need to harass government officials that were performing their official duty, says Yulia Tymoshenko.

“All claims should be directed at me. I can answer for every kopeck, every agreement and every cubic meter of gas, and prove that we had nothing but the state’s interests in mind,” she emphasized.

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Speaker: Parliament to decide on local election date late in June or early in July

Posted by the Editor on June 25, 2010


News / 25 June 2010 | 11:03

Speaker: Parliament to decide on local election date late in June or early in July

Speaker: Parliament to decide on local election date late in June or early in July

Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn has forecast that the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, will consider the issue of the elections to local councils late in June or early in July. He said this in an interview with the Profile-Ukraine magazine, UKRINFORM reported.

The speaker recalled that parliament had already registered “fifteen bills linked to local elections,” and said that regardless of who will submit a new bill on this issue, a real document, according to the parliament’s rules of procedure, could be registered only after consideration of the previous ones.

Parliament Speaker Lytvyn also said that local elections would not be held only on a majority basis. “The decision has not been made yet, but there is an idea that this will be a mixed system,” he said.

As UKRINFORM earlier reported, local elections should have taken place on May 30, but the parliament cancelled them on February 16, without setting a new date. The decision to postpone the elections was taken due to the fact that the state budget for 2010 had not been adopted at that time.

The Ukrainian president’s entourage (the Regions Party) insisted that local elections be held on October 31, 2010. The Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) proposed holding the elections late in March 2011. There are also other proposals on the local election date: either September or December 2010.

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine recently ruled to declare unconstitutional a bill that foresees the holding of the next local elections on March 27, 2011.

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Yanukovych initiates establishing of Presidential staff reserve

Posted by the Editor on June 24, 2010


News / 24 June 2010 | 16:29

Yanukovych initiates establishing of Presidential staff reserve

Yanukovych initiates establishing of Presidential staff reserve

At today’s meeting of the Council of Regions President Viktor Yanukovych suggested creation of the Presidential staff reserve.

“Implementation of reforms declared by us must be reinforced with highly professional staff. To this end I would like to announce elaboration of the program on formation of the Presidential staff reserve,” said Viktor Yanukovych.

The President also added that the Presidential staff reserve should be formed of young people who will be trained to work at all levels.

The Head of State has stressed that draft of relevant Presidential Decree is already prepared and will be signed soon. “We have studied this issue and the way it was solved across the world. I believe that now it is time to pick up the best staff among young people and it is time to trust them. We must involve these young people in government work of all levels. They are future ministers, senior government officials, including presidents and prime ministers. We must create competitive environment, in which senior specialists will be “brought up”,” said Viktor Yanukovych.

The President emphasized that the experience of developed countries demonstrated that such staff reserves “allow forming a “vanguard” of professional managers able to conduct progressive reforms and gather associates around themselves.”

Viktor Yanukovych noted that formation of the Presidential staff reserve includes selecting talented young people, providing them with the best education (and not only at national universities, but the “top” universities of the world) and involving these people in the work at public institutions of different levels.

In addition, he said, the program provides establishing “interview centers” for young professionals of central and local government bodies, successful managers and business specialists, who having passed relevant tests at such centers would be involved in implementing the program of economic reforms at all levels.

The third step of the program provides modernization of advanced training for key government officials of high rank. The President said that this issue is very urgent and it is really crucial to improve specialists’ skills.

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Liovochkin: Ukraine not planning to compete with Belarus in gas supplies to Europe

Posted by the Editor on June 24, 2010


News / 24 June 2010 | 14:45

Liovochkin: Ukraine not planning to compete with Belarus in gas supplies to Europe

Liovochkin: Ukraine not planning to compete with Belarus in gas supplies to Europe

Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration Serhiy Liovochkin has said that Ukraine does not set the goal of gaining any economic benefits from the gas conflict between Russia and Belarus.

He described Belarus as a friend and neighbor of Ukraine, and added that in the current situation Ukraine’s goal was not to gain benefits at the expense of “friends and neighbors,” but to secure its reputation as a gas transit country that should, “against the background of this conflict,” ensure an uninterrupted supply of gas through its gas transport system to Europe.

Liovochkin noted that Ukraine was not a competitor of Belarus in gas supplies to Europe, but most likely a competitor with the countries that agreed to build new gas pipelines, including South Stream.

UKRINFORM

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Tymoshenko: Yanukovych wants to make money on Belarus misfortune

Posted by the Editor on June 24, 2010


News / 24 June 2010 | 12:51

Tymoshenko: Yanukovych wants to make money on Belarus misfortune

Tymoshenko: Yanukovych wants to make money on Belarus misfortune

Declarations about the possible transport of Russian gas via Ukraine rather than Belarus is an attempt to make money from someone else’s misfortune, says Yulia Tymoshenko.

“A country always wants to increase its revenues and profits. But it seems to me that it’s dishonest to make money from the misfortune of neighboring states,” Yulia Tymoshenko said during a press conference in Mykolayiv, commenting on the situation regarding the transit of Russian gas to Europe.

According to Yulia Tymoshenko, President Viktor Yanukovych should instead be focusing his efforts on protecting strategic state property. “Better that they [the Yanukovych-Azarov team] leave our gas transport system alone, and not give it away for a joint venture with Gazprom,” she added.

Yulia Tymoshenko claims Ukraine’s reaction to the Belarusian problem demonstrates the morality of the Ukrainian ruling elite. “It seems to me there needs to be a spirit of solidarity between our countries, and this spirit of solidarity will once again demonstrate the Ukrainian president’s morality or lack thereof,” said Yulia Tymoshenko.

As reported, on June 23, Russia’s Gazprom cut gas deliveries to Belarus by 60%. The transit of gas has not been reduced. Today Ukrainian Minister of Fuel and Energy Yuriy Boyko announced that the country is ready to increase gas transit to Europe by 30 billion cubic meters if necessary.

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President speaks of priorities in Ukraine’s foreign policy

Posted by the Editor on June 24, 2010


News / 24 June 2010 | 11:03

President speaks of priorities in Ukraine's foreign policy

President speaks of priorities in Ukraine’s foreign policy

In his remarks at an expanded meeting of the Cabinet, President Viktor Yanukovych told about his view on main tasks of foreign policy of Ukraine.

He reminded that on May 28 the interdepartmental consultative meeting was held under chairmanship of the President of Ukraine dedicated to the state and prospects of negotiations on signing the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, including the provisions on a free trade area.

“I would like to emphasize that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine should realize timely and carefully the decisions we have reached at this meeting, which contain practical mechanisms to enhance the negotiation process,” said President Yanukovcyh.

He requested conducting detailed analysis of the situation and taking measures aimed at quickly putting negotiations on the FTA between Ukraine and the EU on a constructive path before the next round of talks scheduled on July 5. “The European Union certainly awaits a positive signal from us,” he said.

Another important foreign policy task, Viktor Yanukovcyh said, is to realize the agreements reached between U.S. President Barack Obama and him in Washington this April. “This first of all concerns the question of handling nuclear materials, realization of the nuclear research projects in Kharkiv and Sevastopol with participation of the American side, and disposal of solid rocket fuel,” he said.

Besides, he said, the government must prepare well for the meeting of Ukrainian-American Commission on Strategic Partnership, scheduled on July 5 this year.

“We must deepen cooperation and intensive dialogue in all areas with Russia, which we managed to revive by moving forward step by step without loosing the tempo set by the Presidents of both countries,” said Viktor Yanukovych emphasizing that all the instructions proceeding from agreements reached during his meetings with his Russian colleague (which they had seven in last four months) must be carried out fully and in accordance with the schedule.

He said that such an approach should be applied to Ukrainian-Kazakh relations, too. “Please speed up the work on practical implementation of the Ukraine-Kazakhstan Action Plan 2010-2011”, he said.

Viktor Yanukovych also requested the Cabinet to strictly follow the instructions he gave after his working visit to Istanbul, which concerned implementation of important agreements reached during that visit.

President Yanukovych addressed those present with the request to start preparations for the visit of the President of Ukraine to the People’s Republic of China scheduled on September 2010. According to him, this visit, initiated by the Chinese leadership, would improve Ukrainian-Chinese bilateral relations and political dialogue between the two sates.

“I am convinced that China is a very important country for us from all points of view, especially from the economic one. And our challenge is to make her our effective strategic partner,” he said.

Viktor Yanukovych drew separate attention of the present to the situation around Government’s steps aimed at providing Ukrainian citizens who reside abroad with international passports. “The Cabinet’s decisions taken to protect the rights of our compatriots abroad became subject to public criticism and accusations,” said the President.

He requested chairmen of the responsible executive authorities to make every effort to check the situation carefully and prevent negative effects of such publicity on the international image of the Government and Ukraine generally.

The President also criticized the Government for delays and inappropriate execution of Presidential instructions to make Ukraine’s foreign policy more economically oriented. “I have emphasized that repeatedly: our embassies and foreign missions should not engage in politics and spread gossips about the country but engage in economic issues and protection of national interests of Ukraine,” he said.

“I would like to remind those present that foreign trade is a system-building factor for economy. Last week I gave orders to the Government to improve state management of trade policy of Ukraine. I will demand their proper execution as soon as possible,” said Viktor Yanukovych.

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Ukraine ready to transit more Russian gas to Europe

Posted by the Editor on June 23, 2010


News / 23 June 2010 | 16:35

Ukraine ready to transit more Russian gas to Europe

Ukraine ready to transit more Russian gas to Europe

Ukraine is ready to do everything to settle a gas dispute between Russia and Belarus, as well as to pump more Russian gas to Europe if needed, Ukraine’s fuel and energy minister said on Wednesday, RIA Novosti informed.

“First, I want to say that today’s conflict is a bilateral affair between Russia and Belarus. And we want it [the dispute] to end as soon as possible, and the two countries to find a compromise and agree,” the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Ministry’s press service quoted Yury Boiko as saying.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has reduced supplies to Belarus by 60% over Minsk’s $200 million gas debt. The company initially cut supplies by 15% on Monday, doubling the reduction to 30% on Tuesday and again to 60% on Wednesday.

It has warned the cuts may reach 85% or daily volumes if Belarus fails to repay the debt.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said “the Belarusian side has taken no steps” to meet the company’s demands.

Boiko said Ukraine, the main transit nation for Russian gas supplies to Europe, would be able to increase supplies if Moscow makes such a proposal.

“We have the technical capability to increase the transit of gas across our territory by approximately 30 billion cubic meters,” he said, adding that “we have received official proposals neither from Russia nor from Belarusian colleagues.”

Ukraine currently pumps more than 110 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe annually.

Gazprom has said it has agreed with Kiev to reroute gas intended for European consumers via Ukrainian pipelines.

The dispute between Russia and Belarus has erupted as Minsk has refused to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second quarter, and has been paying only $150 since January 1.

Miller has said Belarus continued pumping the same volume of Russian gas to Europe despite Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s threats to cut supplies. Poland’s gas company said on Wednesday it was receiving its full allocation of gas via Belarus.

Lukashenko told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday in Minsk that he had found money to repay the debt, but argued that Gazprom owed Minsk for transit fees and proposed canceling the debt. He said he had ordered suspension of Russian gas supplies to Europe, potentially affecting 6.25% of consumers.

Gazprom admitted it had a debt but did not specify its amount, only saying Minsk refused to allow it to settle the debt. The two parties have failed to reach any mutual debt offset arrangement.

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