Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov has said in a live TV phone-in that Ukraine had no choice but to accept the RosUkrEnergo Company as the sole supplier of gas to Ukraine in recent negotiations with the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom.

"The thing is that whole of the pipeline extending from the Turkmen-Uzbek border to the Russian-Ukrainian border at Novopskov is filled [with gas] by Gazprom's contractor RosUkrEnergo , and we were offered a choice: either this [work with RosUkrEnergo ] or ship gas by train," Yekhanurov said. "So, we had no choice."

He added: "We had only one supplier to choose from, which, by the way, offered a price of 95 dollars [per 1,000 cu.m. - a relatively low price]."

Yekhanurov said that he had no proof of any dubious activities by RosUkrEnergo : "It is not that we were not aware of what RosUkrEnergo is and so on. We have no alternative. The Russian side offered a company. We have no proof [of RosUkrEnergo's alleged shady deals]. Neither our security agencies nor our commercial partners have any official proof of lack of transparency in the operation of that company."

"It is known for sure that there are two main founders there: Gazprom and Raiffeisen Investment. There may be someone else on that side. There is no one there from the Ukrainian side. Ukrainian interests are not represented there, but when this whole affair was being started, they thought there would be players from Ukraine, that is why they had the Ukr part in the company name," Yekhanurov said. Yekhanurov said that Ukraine did the right thing by not selling its gas transport system to Russia. "Those who give up their gas transport systems will have to dance to the tune of the balalaika," he said.

Yekhanurov also expressed his cabinet's resolve to stay on despite parliament's vote to sack the government. He accused the political forces behind the vote of public relations stunts in the run-up to the 26 March election.
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, Ukraine
BBC Monitoring Service, UK
Materials are presented by Action Ukraine Report

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