Monday, January 30, 2006

Under-the-table gas deals

On 1st January 2006, the day Russia turned off gas valves supplying Ukraine with its gas, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign affairs [MFA] issued the uncompromisingly strongly worded "Statement of the MFA of Ukraine on Co-operation in Gas Sphere"

Some quotes:

"On the first day of 2006, the Russian Side, violating its contractual obligations started to decrease the volume of gas supply to Ukraine and
EU member-states..

In such a way, a scenario was launched, with the aim to exert economic pressure, blackmail, and, ultimately, destabilize the Ukrainian economy and disrupt Russia’s gas supplies to consumers in EU countries...

The regrettable facts of demonstrative neglect of the contract in force and decreasing the volume of gas supply display the existence of certain forces in Moscow that spur the country on the way of unpredictability and blackmailing in regard of consumers in all countries...

The intimidations sounded by the statement of the MFA of the Russian Federation of January 1, 2006, are merely intended for poorly informed Russian citizens.."
On 3rd January 2006 Presidents' Yuschenko of Ukraine and Voronin of Moldova issued a statement: Again, some quotes:

"Although terms of gas supplies to Ukraine and Moldova differ, we believe this is a premeditated scenario of energy pressure and blackmail which is intent to undermine economic development and cause social destabilization in our countries.

Ukraine and Russia had signed several bilateral agreements and contracts that clearly stipulate principles of cooperation in the gas sector until 2013.

Ukraine and Moldova call on the European Union to help our countries:
1.resume talks with Russia with the participation of international experts;
2.gradually phase in market principles of cooperation;
3. use European pricing methods to set a price for Russian gas;
4. invoke a moratorium on gas prices before the completion of talks;
5. continue transiting gas to European consumers in accordance with existing bilateral documents

Just a day later, all differences between Russia and Ukraine were indecently quickly resolved, and the ambiguous and vague 4th January agreement cobbled together and signed by Alexei Miller of Gazprom and Oleksiy Ivchenko of Naftogaz Ukrainy in Moscow. Murky RosUkrEnergo was to be the monopolistic provider of all natural gas to Ukraine.

Why did it all happen so suddenly?

Well, an article in the Kyiv weekly 'Svoboda', reveals that on 3rd January, a few hours before the signing of the agreement, $53m were transferred by RosUkrEnergo via Raiffeisen Bank, to the account of Petrogaz, a company registered in the United Arab Emirates. Petrogaz is owned by Viktor Yuschenko's brother, Petro, a parliamentary deputy candidate in the NSNU Party led by Yuriy Yekhanurov, according to information circulating in the Ukrainian parliament. Copies of bank payment slips have come to light on the WWW.

URA-Inform Website posted information last Tuesday that on 31st March 2005 Oleksiy Ivchenko, head of Naftogaz Ukrainy, signed two agreements enabling Petrogaz to purchase 215Mcu of Turkmen gas at $28/Tcm..
[Current EU gas price is $200+]

On Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning URA-Inform' s offices were gutted in a fire...



Anonymous said...

This is fatal if true - unless there is some bizarre arrangement to funnel this to a nice charity or such.

Go Tymoshenko?

LEvko said...

Stories such as the one I posted, particularly in the printed media, don't have the same kind of impact that they would in 'the west' - all Ukrainian politicians are generally regarded as being corrupt, not without reason - so, although my own personal opinion is that the story may have some truth to it, damage to NSNU will be minimal.

Anonymous said...

I also see that the one link has pictures which appear to allege that the post-poisoning Yush is not the same person as pre-poison.

This seems like a stretch.