Sunday, 17 April 2011

Ukraine-Russia Gas Contract Could Be Canceled By Court - Prosecutors

KIEV, Ukraine -- The 2009 gas contract between Ukraine and Russia was signed with gross violations of Ukrainian laws and could be canceled by court, Ukrainian First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said.
"All actions on the Ukrainian side were illegal. It means the contract and all actions on its implementations could be questioned and canceled by judicial procedure," Kuzmin told Ukrainian TV channel Inter.

Prosecutors said Friday the head of Ukraine's state-owned gas company, Naftogaz, has been charged with abuse of office over the 2009 contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Oleh Dubyna became the latest in a crackdown on Ukraine's top-ranking officials linked to the previous government.

The existing contract was signed in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Earlier this week, Ukraine's state prosecutor's office launched a criminal case against Tymoshenko, now an opposition leader, over abuse of power linked to the signing of the contract.

The government of President Viktor Yanukovich, her rival, has long urged Russia to review the pricing formula but talks have not been successful so far.

In 2010, Naftogaz and Gazprom signed an additional agreement with a discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Tymoshenko said she is being targeted by pro-Russian Yanukovych to divert public attention from the possible ditching of Ukraine's associate EU entry bid.

Earlier, Yanukovych said Ukraine would pursue ties with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in a 3+1 format after Gazprom said a union entry would cut the country's gas bill by $8 billion every year.

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