President Viktor Yushchenko told reporters on Wednesday Ukraine’s gas safety regulations must be “radically reviewed and made much more efficient and reliable.” He described Saturday’s natural gas blast in a block of flats in Dnipropetrovsk as a “lesson that should be learned, first of all, by the government", the president's press office reported

Speaking of the state of the country’s gas distribution facilities, the president said they had been legally privatized in the mid-1990s but added that these companies employed not very professional workers and that the government failed to control the safety of gas supplies and distribution. He also said it was important to inventory all such facilities.

Yushchenko said only those companies that can guarantee the safety of gas supplies and distribution should be given licenses and stressed the importance of preventive measures. He criticized the State Control Service for failing to prevent the accident and suggested reestablishing a governmental committee for state control.

The president demanded that those in charge of supplying the ruined house with gas must pay all material and moral damages. “I am sad and I am surprised that no shareholder of Dniprogaz has so far offered any help to the residents of this house, the state commission, or any state or local institution. These people feel no moral and professional responsibility,” he said.

“This incident…this accident… has definitely not been for nothing,” he said, urging Ukrainians to help the blast victims.


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