Within the framework of his
working visit to the United State President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko gave
interview to information agency Bloomberg.
The main subjects under
discussion were the consequences of the Russian-Georgian conflict, Ukraine’s Eurointegration, including MAP,
and internal political situation, including ,ethods tp overcome the political
Yushchenko also spoke about Ukrainian-Russian relations concerning gas
agreements for the next year. The President answered questions on economic
situation in Ukraine, in particular taking into account
the world financial crisis and the level of inflation in our country.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko urged his
country's government to sign a contract for natural gas shipments from Russia's OAO Gazprom for domestic use in
2009, a move that will secure stability of gas flows to Europe.
``These talks should be
finished as soon as possible,'' Yushchenko said in an interview in New York yesterday. ``We should not wait
until December, because December is when the political component dominates.''
The European Union gets a
quarter of its gas from Russia, most of which is shipped across Ukraine. Since 2006, Russia's gas-export monopoly Gazprom has
reduced flows to Ukraine twice during pricing disputes,
raising EU concerns about Russia's reliability as an energy
Ukraine may be forced to take domestic supplies from
gas being shipped to Europe if a deal with Gazprom for 2009 isn't signed. Ukraine's state-run NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy
said Sept. 16 it doesn't plan to increase 2009 transit charges for Russian gas
using its pipelines in a bid to limit the price it will pay for supplies from
Russia, the world's largest natural-gas and
second-largest oil exporter, also halted deliveries of crude oil to Belarus in 2007 and cut gas supplies to Ukraine by 50 percent this February.
Government officials of Ukraine and Belarus have repeatedly said Russia is using its energy resources to
wield influence over its former Soviet satellites. Russia denied the accusations.
Yushchenko said he told
Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller in July that Ukraine seeks to
sign the agreement sooner rather than later, including because ``gas price is
crucial for some of our key industries, such as metallurgy and chemical
companies.'' Oleh Dubina, chief executive officer at Naftogaz, said in an
interview in Kiev on Sept. 16 that the country may delay signing the agreement on 2009
gas supplies with Gazprom until Dec. 31.
``I am convinced that the
agreement must be signed before the winter months,'' Yushchenko said. ``The
major issue is to agree on a formula of the price,'' which should include
tariffs that Russia pays for shipping its gas supplies
via Ukrainian territory to Europe.
Yushchenko also suggested
that Ukraine's charges to transport Russian gas are still
subject to talks. Ukraine relies on Russia for 71 percent of its gas needs.
Russia doubled the gas price for Ukraine in 2006, and raised it by 37
percent in 2007 and by 38 percent this year. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov said in June that his country may double the price again for 2009
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