March 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 am - admin
Ukrainians celebrate faith and culture in 2012.
Ukrainian Catholics in Canada had a lot to be thankful for in 2011. Now 2012 is shaping up to be another big year.
Ukrainians celebrated the 120th anniversary of settlement in Canada last year and the worldwide Ukrainian Catholic Church (UGCC) celebrated the election of the youngest-ever leader, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. The major archbishop was enthroned less than a year ago on March 27 at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection in Kyiv.Celebrations abound this year as well. It’s the 100th anniversary of the arrival in Canada of Blessed Nykyta Budka, the first Ukrainian Catholic eparch (bishop) in Canada, and eparchs in the Metropolitan Province of Canada have named 2012 the Year of Blessed Nykyta Budka. Many celebrations are scheduled in Canada’s eparchies (dioceses).
The UGCC is holding the worldwide synod of Ukrainian Catholic eparchs in the Archeparchy of Winnipeg Sept. 9 – 16, an encouraging testament to the significance of Blessed Budka.
Last week, New Westminster Eparch Ken Nowakowski released the schedule of events for this eparchy, and Ukrainian Catholics in B.C. won’t be left out of the celebrations. Major Archbishop Shevchuk’s pastoral visit includes, along with the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, the rest of the eparchies of Canada: New Westminster, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Eastern Canada.
The major archbishop will visit B.C. from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 and will take part in many events, including two Divine Liturgies and a Moleben, or prayer service, celebrating the Year of Blessed Budka and the 60th anniversary of the eparchy’s Holy Eucharist Cathedral.
(British Columbians can also celebrate Ukrainian Canadian culture by visiting the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria from May 25 to Sept. 3 for an exhibition called The Messenger by famous Ukrainian-Canadian artist William Kurelek. This year is the 35th anniversary of his death.)This is encouraging news for all Ukrainian Catholics in B.C., and it provides them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their shepherd.
It is also offers a unique opportunity for Roman Catholics to participate in services for one of the major Eastern Catholic churches. (And yes, you can receive Communion at a Divine Liturgy.)
The richness and wonder of the UGCC is coming to the Eparchy of New Westminster. It would be a shame if Ukrainian Catholics in B.C. didn’t get out to participate in the celebrations.
It would also be a shame if Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Vancouver and Diocese of Nelson didn’t get out to participate in the celebrations.
Events in the Eparchy of New Westminster for Major Archbishop Shevchuk’s visit: Moleben at Holy Eucharist Cathedral in New Westminster Aug. 31; Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s in Vancouver Sept. 1; Divine Liturgy at Holy Dormition Parish in Kelowna Sept. 2.
See next week’s B.C. Catholic for a full schedule of events during Major Archbishop Shevchuk’s pastoral visit.
at 9:36 am - admin
Young Ukrainians continue to impress.
The Yonex Polish International kicked off today at the purpose built Matchpoint sports club in Wroclaw the fourth largest city in Poland. Qualification threw up few surprises but the Ukrainian young guns showed their potential as both Natalya Voytsekh (pictured) and Artem Pochtarev came through a difficult qualification to advance to the main draw.
Both Voytsekh and Pochtarev, members of the Ukrainian bronze medal winning team from the European Juniors last year, displayed immense maturity in what is a tough qualification tournament in this an Olympic qualifying year.
Both players have clearly benefited from a full season on the senior tour and look completely at home battling it out against much more experienced opposition on the European tour.
Pochtarev came through two matches against local Polish opposition and looked poised and mature on court to book a spot in round one where he will play 7th seed Vladimir Ivanov of Russia.
Voytsekh was even more impressive as she had to come through the final qualification round against team mate, and another one of the current production line of quality Ukrainian youngsters, Liza Zharka. Both Ukrainians were the class athletes on view in the women’s singles qualification and the luck of the draw on this occasion went against Zharka.
It was also a good day for the Russian pair of Gabdullina and Golovanova as both girls advanced to the main draw with easy qualification victories as was expected.
The home support had good reason to be happy also as the young Polish singles duo of Swist and Wojtkowska advanced to tomorrow’s main draw and are sure to get valuable experience playing at this high level.
at 9:35 am - admin
Ukraine’s president to hold a meeting with religious figures to ensure equal opportunities for all religious beliefs.
The church leaders admit the state is now striving to overcome the church split. Some Ukrainians say the state ventures to interfere in the church affairs.
About 70% of the total Ukraine’s population consider themselves faithful. Statistics show that over the past 10 years the Ukrainian congregation have increased by 13 percent. Sociologists however pointed at some fluctuation of trust.
Archbishop Evstratiy strongly opposes the fact that Ukrainians distrust the church more than ever before. Moreover some consider such research studies rather provocative than representative saying that the church now remains almost a single trustworthy social institution in Ukraine.
Church leaders call upon authorities not to favor any religions in order to avoid triggering civil conflicts. However, this can be achieved only after the state guarantees the inter-faith tolerance.
No one disputes that the state and the church in Ukraine should resume dialog. However, the clergy are asking the state not to violate the balance among faiths in Ukraine. This, as the President has said the state will assist reconciliation and prevent any confrontation.
at 9:31 am - admin
UPDATE 1-Two killed during attack on Ukrainian radar base.
Ukrainian soldiers shot dead one
man and detained another who were trying to steal weapons from a
military base in the city of Kharkiv, one the venues for the
Euro 2012 football championship, police said on Thursday.
One soldier defending the radar base was killed and two
others were injured after the two brothers, wearing masks and
camouflaged uniforms, attacked troops with knives at around 4
a.m. local time (0200 GMT), police said in a statement.
The murdered soldier was a conscript and due to be
discharged from the army in two weeks, news agency Unian quoted
Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Prishko as saying.
One of the attackers had served in a special forces unit in
Russia, Prishko added.
“There was no political or religious subtext to this crime,”
he said. “The attack was carried out in order to obtain weapons
and then sell them.”
Although theft and robberies are not uncommon in Ukraine,
armed attacks on military facilities are rare.
Ukraine, together with Poland, will host the Euro 2012
football championship in June and the eastern city of Kharkiv is
due to host games between the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and
at 9:30 am - admin
Ukraine could decrease sugar beet field area by 17.3% in 2012.
Sugar beet fields in Ukraine this year could decrease by 17.3% compared to the area of last year’s fields, the director of the farming department at the Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry, Oleksandr Demydov, has said.
“We’re planning for there not to be 500,000 hectares [sowed with sugar beets], it will be less – somewhere around 450,000 hectares,” he told reporters in Kyiv on Wednesday.
Demydov said that earlier the regions reported plans to sow sugar beets on 500,000 hectares. However, he said that on March 23, 2012 the regions are to send revised assessments.
An expert of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, Roman Slasten, said that Ukraine would manage to sow 500,000 hectares with sugar beets this year.
“Many agroholdings and large companies dominating on the market declare that they plan to reduce fields, although there are many statements of private farmers that they want to sow sugar beets despite its low price,” he said.
The head of the analytical department of the AAA consulting agency, Maria Kolesnik, said that the situation with sowing of sugar beets this year would be more pessimistic.
“Fields with sugar beets will reach some 375,000-380,000 hectares,” she said.
Kolesnik said that the sugar beet harvest this year will amount to 12.3 million tonnes, while beet sugar production will total 1.3 million tonnes.
at 9:29 am - admin
Ukrainian area in Leipzig.
This year’s book fair, one of Europe’s largest, attracts over 2,000 publishers from 44 countries of the world.
One of the main topics of this year’s festival was the special program “Transit: Poland, Ukraine, Belarus,” initiated by the fair’s administration and supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation. It will last for three years and envisages a number of events aimed at a joint promotion of the abovementioned countries’ literatures in Germany. The opening day of the fair was dedicated to the topics of the Holocaust, Ukraine’s Holodomor, and the legacy inherited by the states from the post-Soviet space, because they enjoy a special attention this year. As for the organization of the process, young Ukrainian poet Hryhorii Semenchuk said there are things we can borrow: “The event enjoys a great support from the state and the city. Clearly, the book industry is better developed in Germany and owing to the agreements with the city, the whole organization looks much better. At the moment the fair is at the core of the city’s life, everyone is interested in its taking place.”
Nine publishing houses were accommodated on the 10 square meters of Ukrainian “area,” i.e., the stand: A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA, Staroho Leva, Folio, Hrani-T, Kartohrafia, Knyhy XIX, Teza, etc. According to the administration, the selected publishers will in the best way present the Ukrainian book market, because they all come from different regions, there are small and big ones, they publish children’s books, fiction, and humanities literature, as well as art albums and books for tourists. But first and foremost, these are publishers which are ready for mutually beneficial contacts with German and East European publishers. Unfortunately, Kalvaria and Nora-druk publishing houses were not represented at the fair, as they were organizing a presentation of Ukrainian writers at the Paris Book Salon while the same period of time.
Such notable authors as Yurii Andrukhovych, Oksana Zabuzhko, Andrii Kurkov, Natalka Sniadanko joined the discussions and presentations. And Serhii Zhadan, who had impressed the readers with his active work of late – last year his book Voroshylovhrad was competing for the first prize of the BBC Book of the Year – came with the band Sobaky v kosmosi, which was a headliner at one of the greatest literary-music parties of the festival. The author presented two anthologies, which are very topical as the anticipated epopee Euro-2012 is coming closer. The first one, Total Football, published by the German Suhrcamp Publishing House, consists of the texts dedicated to eight host cities of the championship. The second anthology is a collection of 11 football stories authored by Oleksandr Havrosh, Tania Maliarchuk, Maksym Kidruk, Andrii Kokotiukha, etc. Apart from the authors and publishers, the fair’s active group included translators and journalists, including Yurko Prokhasko, Kateryna Mishchenko, and Kateryna Stetsevych, a coordinator of the program. The versatile program was enriched by the presentations of the Ukrainian exposition, Lviv literary festival, and Meridian Czernowitz poetic festival.
“I am very glad,” the president of the Forum Vydavtsiv (Forum of Publishers) Civic Association Oleksandra Koval shared her impressions, “that both publishers and authors who were newcomers at the event, saw a grandiose festival, when during four days over 3,000 events are taking place, with each one having an audience of its own. If we organize everything in this manner, keeping to the law, defending our rights, letting all the participants of the marker live, and most importantly, taking care of the development and satisfaction of the needs of our readers, the situation in our country will be no worse. At least, we do have good authors and good books in Ukraine.”
at 9:28 am - admin
Another attempt to settle the gas issue – to no avail.
Valerii KHOROSHKOVSKY: Ukraine will reorient to other markets in case its neighboring countries introduce some kind of restrictions.
Russia, with its incumbent and newly elected heads of state, is trying to give an impetus to the CIS integration process. The main objective (being kept top secret) is to gradually create something resembling the late Soviet empire, using the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Community. Will Ukraine join this ill-organized process?
There is no answer to this question, simply because no one can answer it. Ukraine has repeatedly declared its European choice, although Europe’s higher echelons are busy trying to solve their own big problems in the first place. Second, it appears that every chance of pushing Ukraine closer to Russia has been used. Ukraine is trying to keep on its European course, yet there are deviations, mostly because some “upstairs” still expect Russia to lower the gas price.
On Monday, President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine flew to Moscow on a working visit. He attended a session of the EAEC Interstate Council (Ukraine is an accredited observer). The Ukrainian embassy in Moscow stated that Yanukovych intended to meet with the leaders of the CIS countries. The embassy’s highfalutin statement reads that the “topicality of this visit underlines the necessity of furthering the national interests of Ukraine, while facilitating relations with the Eurasian Economic Community and bilateral relations with EAEC member countries, primarily in the economic sphere.” According to the Ukrainian diplomats, this visit would give an impetus to the business cooperation between Ukraine and EAEC member states, based on the principles of free trade, in keeping with WTO rules and standards, without discrimination, exclusions, and restrictive measures. About the same trend and as ephemeral expectations were evident in President Yanukovych’s meeting (March 20) with the incumbent Prime Minister and newly elected President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.
Rhetoric aside, Yanukovych visited Moscow to make a gas deal (one is reminded of the Argonauts who accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece), precisely to persuade Moscow to lower the price.
What will be the outcome? When this feature was being prepared for publication, there was no news about the meeting at Novo-Ogaryovo, the Russian president’s suburban official residence. This author will risk to predict that the outcome will be the same as that of the previous visit: nil. Ukraine isn’t likely to receive any economic or political benefits. Europe will become even more suspicious of Ukraine’s double dealing. This will be another heavy blow to the signing of the association agreement.
One small result of this visit is the presentation of the new Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Valerii Khoroshkovsky, to Moscow’s ruling elite.
Even though Russia doesn’t accept Yanukovych’s 3+1 formula of Ukraine’s Customs Union membership, Khoroshkovsky has promised a tolerant attitude to the CU member countries, and that official Kyiv won’t take any countermeasures (in response to Moscow’s cheese and other restrictions). “I believe that we must act on a bilateral basis in the first place; that we must be very cautious about antidumping investigations,” he declared after a sitting of the EAEC Interstate Council in Moscow, adding that Ukraine is showing a markedly tolerant attitude. Optimistically he assured that “ Russia and other EAEC countries’ WTO membership would mean that we’ll be working on a common economic basis.” He said Russia’s WTO membership will make its relations with Ukraine more dynamic, and that WTO rules and standards could serve to balance bilateral and multilateral business relations.
Ukraine’s activity within the EAEC was close to nil. To begin with, it transpired that no one can figure out the current EAEC objectives. This organization hasn’t even started function and now it has to be reformed or replaced by something new. Even the name wasn’t decided upon and the issue was postponed. Yanukovych is right to insist on his 3+1 formula.
at 9:27 am - admin
UN secretary general praises Ukraine’s contribution to peacekeeping operations in Ivory Coast.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised Ukraine’s’ contribution to peacekeeping operations in Ivory Coast.
“We had to make a stand to protect the civilians, as mandated by the Security Council. And we did. But we might not have prevailed without the contribution of one country: Ukraine, which lent us three combat military helicopters at the critical moment,” the UN secretary general said in his address at the conference in Jakarta on March 21, according to the Web site of the UN.
According to the secretary general, with the Ukrainian helicopters, and the support of the French government, and the French forces deployed in Ivory Coast, they were able to neutralize the heavy weaponry systems which were attacking the United Nations peacekeepers and also killing many civilians.
In late 2011, 38 Ukrainian peacekeepers of from the 56th helicopter detachment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Liberia took part in the UN mission during the presidential elections in Ivory Coast.
Ivory Coast was the scene of an armed standoff between the supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after being defeated at the presidential election, and the supporters of Alassane Ouattara, who was recognized by the United Nations as the country’s new head of state.
at 9:25 am - admin
Situation in DR Congo dangerous for Ukrainian peacekeepers, says MP Hrytsenko.
Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defense and former Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko has said that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is dangerous for the lives of Ukrainian peacekeepers.
“The fact that the situation in DR Congo is dangerous to life and health of our soldiers was clear even then, when they decided to send the peacekeeping contingent,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine commenting on the attack on the Ukrainian helicopter in this the country.
Hrytsenko recalled that the national security and defense committee of Verkhovna Rada did not recommend the Ukrainian president sending peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However most lawmakers voted for this decision anyway and Ukrainian troops joined the peacekeeping mission in that country.
As reported, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Mikoyan Mi-24 helicopter from the 18th Separate Helicopter Squad of the Ukrainian Armed Forces of the United Nations mission was attacked in DR Congo on March 21.
As a result of the shooting and interpreter sustained a gunshot wound in the leg. He was urgently taken to the military hospital of the Indian peacekeeping forces, where he underwent a surgery. The injured peacekeeper is said to be in a stable condition, the Defense Ministry said.
On December 22, 2011, Verkhovna Rada approved the president’s decision to send Ukrainian peacekeepers as part of the UN mission to stabilize the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The document stipulated 200 Ukrainian troops.
The expenses relating to the Ukrainian peacekeepers’ participation in the stabilization of Congo are covered by the Ukrainian state budget and further compensated by the UN.
Currently, Ukraine has deployed 157 peacekeepers and four Mi-24 helicopters as part of the UN mission in Congo.
at 9:24 am - admin
After Chernobyl, Ukraine seeks atom’s ‘peaceful service of mankind’.
His nation suffered the worst nuclear disaster in history -– but the Ukrainian ambassador said his country now wishes to promote the safe use of nuclear power at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
Ambassador Vasyl Marmazov said the catastrophic explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power station’s reactor 4 on April 26, 1986 has well-placed his country to contribute to nuclear security and safety talks at the summit on March 26-27.
The United Nations has estimated that 9,000 cancer-related deaths could stem from the Chernobyl disaster, while Greenpeace’s prediction runs to 93,000. Fallout from the damaged reactor north of Kiev was enough to double natural radiation readings in Sweden, 1,000 miles away. A 30 km-radius exclusion zone exists around the plant 26 years on.
Marmazov pledged that his country will lend its painfully-won nuclear safety expertise to “Putting the atom to work for the peaceful service of mankind.” The country also renounced its Soviet-inherited nuclear weapons in 1996, and has pledged to remove its stockpiles of highly enriched uranium.
“Ukraine’s example can serve as a basis for the unification of international efforts toward the establishment of a safe, nuclear-free world in the interests of all states,” Marmazov said.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is to attend the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit along with representatives from 58 countries and international organizations. Some 48 heads of state including U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are scheduled to attend.
“Threats to nuclear security remain at the global and regional levels and can be closely linked with the development and use of nuclear energy,” Marmazov said, calling for the Nuclear Security Summit to become a regular event.
“Twenty-six years after the Chernobyl disaster, Ukraine continues to deal with its horrific aftermath. It is imperative for all states to establish a reliable international architecture for nuclear safety and to exercise control over nuclear materials and technologies.”
He added that since Chernobyl, Ukrainian specialists had built up “great experience for the protection of the population from the consequences of nuclear accidents, prevention and treatment of diseases caused by radiation.”
Their advice was sought by medical experts soon after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last March 11.
“We are ready to render further any kind of assistance in this field to the Japanese side as well as to others. The Republic of Korea is also interested to cooperate with Ukraine in this sphere in order to obtain our experience, scientific approaches and methods,” he said. “The events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant remind us of the importance of strengthening nuclear safety and of responding promptly to nuclear accidents and emergencies including those caused by large scale natural disasters. These events demonstrate that nuclear safety is enhanced when the global community works together to meet these challenges.”
Maintaining high levels of emergency preparedness and response capability were two key lessons Ukraine has learned to mitigate the effects of a nuclear accident, he said. And transparency must be maintained as much as possible during such an event.
The Soviet authorities did not admit the Chernobyl catastrophe until two weeks after the explosion. And Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant operator TEPCO was also accused of cover-ups in the wake of last year’s meltdown.
Marmazov called on all signatory countries of the Convention on Nuclear Safety to ratify the agreement, and for the nuclear industry, regulators and governments to work together on such issues.
“Keeping in mind the lessons learned from the Chernobyl disaster we are convinced that application of safety measures must continue to be a top priority in all activities related to nuclear energy use,” he said.
In spite of Chernobyl, the Ukraine is still heavily dependent on nuclear energy. It currently has 15 nuclear reactors generating about half of its electricity, commissioning two large new plants in 2004. And the ambassador thought that the conference should be a forum to secure non-nuclear states’ rights to nuclear materials and technology for peaceful purposes, as long as they abided by international treaties.
The country pledged to remove its highly enriched uranium stockpiles, totaling about 90 kilograms, at the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April 2010, and Yanukovich told the Yonhap news agency that the task was nearing completion ahead of his visit to Seoul.
at 9:22 am - admin
Ukrainian Media Adviser Not Allowed in Belarus.
Ukrainian media trainer and adviser Oleg Khomenko was not allowed in Belarus on March 20. He was reported at the passport control at the airport that he’s on the list of banned in the country. “I called the Embassy of Ukraine in Belarus. They promised to call back first, but then answered that they couldn’t help me at all. An employee of the embassy refused to give his name,” he said.
The same evening, the media expert was sent the same airline flight back to Kiev, BBC Ukraine.
Oleg Khomenko has already written statements to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Oleh Bilorus, with a request to find out on what grounds and for how long it he’s not allowed to enter Belarus. He also requests the Minister to confirm or deny the existence of a list of persons banned to enter Belarus, as well as to explain the mechanisms to review the incident.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on issues of freedom of expression and information formally requires the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to protest against the actions of Belarus. “We urge the Minister to assess the action of the Ukrainian Embassy in Belarus, which has not provided any assistance to Oleg Khomenko, as well as to protest against the actions of the Belarusian border guards,” said a committee member, member of “BYT-Fatherland” Andriy Shevchenko.
Ukrainian MPs also require some explanation on what grounds and for how long Oleg Khomenok is banned from entering Belarus. In addition, they require answering the question on the existence of the lists of persons who are forbidden to visit Belarus, as well as explaining the procedure for removing the ban.
Oleg Khomenok is a member of the public council at the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Expression and Information, a board member of the Institute of the regional press and media adviser to Internews Network. The activities of the latter organization are banned on the territory of Belarus. However, according to the media expert, his trip had nothing to do with Internews Network; its purpose was to advise the local publishing house.
As Telegraf previously reported, Oleg Khomenko is not the first citizen of Ukraine, denied entry to Belarus. For example, March 9, 2011, Ukrainian human rights activist Maksim Kitsyuka was not allowed in Belarus. April 20, Belarusian border guards detained Ukrainian human rights activist Marina Tsapok to enter the country at the border crossing on the frontier “Teryuha.” April 21, the deputy head of the Ukrainian youth organization “Foundation of Regional Initiatives,” Ukrainian human rights activist Mikhail Kamenev was denied entry to Belarus as well.
September 30, a member of the All-Ukrainian youth public organization Foundation of regional initiatives, human rights activist Vladimir Senko was not allowed to cross the border of Belarus, too.
at 9:19 am - admin
Michel Platini: Ukraine’s Success is Extraordinary.
The President of the Union of European Football Associations Michel Platini noted the progress Ukraine made in preparations for the European Football Championship EURO 2012.
According to Platini, modernization plans have been 95 percent implemented. “Difficult births often lead to beautiful babies,” is how Michel Platini referred to the project.
Michel Platini reckoned that the organization of EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine was a complicated and difficult adventure, reports AFP. The upcoming football tournament played a key role in developing the much-needed infrastructure in the host countries. Ukraine has built new airports, hotels and roads, taking its infrastructure 30 years into the future. Such legacy of the UEFA football championship will last, said Platini.
In 2010, Michel Platini urged Ukraine to intensify the preparations for the football championship: “The championship is 2012, not 2030.” But in 18 months Ukraine dispelled all concerns. The country introduced four renewed airports, with the last one opening next month. On April 12, 2012, Michel Platini will inaugurate the Danylo Halytskyi International Airport in western Ukrainian Lviv.
Ukrainian authorities also saw to the reconstruction of the country’s four stadiums, the opening of hundreds of new hotels, and the introduction of numerous new transportation routes. Ukraine made sure the street signs were available in English. It even amended some of its legislature in order to employ the EU standards.
Railway stations, taxi, and public transport in Ukraine experienced major adjustments to provide smooth service to hundreds of thousands of EURO 2012 tourists. Medical, security and maintenance personnel received special training in tourist management and English. Thousands of guide books were designed and printed specially for the football fans coming to Ukraine in June.
One of the popular concerns of the international community was accommodation in Ukraine. As its tourism industry is only developing, the country may not have as many hotel rooms as major European capitals. Nevertheless, Information centre Ukraine-2012 reported over 60,000 beds available in Ukrainian EURO 2012 cities with only 20 percent of accommodation booked by February.
at 9:15 am - admin
The black, gray and white of Ukrainian accounting.
Off-the-books accounting thrives.
While Ukraine’s government reports on simplifying administration of taxes and lightening the tax burden on smaller business, many domestic companies still stick to the practice of shadow accounting and keep the real account of their finances to themselves, presenting tax authorities with a fake picture of their finances.
According to experts, at least 40 percent of businesses in Ukraine practice shadow accounting. Firms keep two and sometimes three sets of accounting books.
Among them is a real one for themselves and up to two fake ones, one for for authorities and another for investors.
Analysts name many reasons for keeping distorted financial records for tax authorities.
“The obvious goal is to show less income thus having to pay less taxes,” says Volodymyr Kotenko, partner and head of the tax and legal practice at Ernst & Young in Ukraine.
Expenditures can also be faked to lower taxes, and siphon money out of the company.
“Let’s say the official accounting book shows the company spent Hr 1 million on buying some services. However, no services were really bought and the money was split between the company ‘providing’ the services and the company ‘obtaining’ them.
At the same time the company officially obtained and reported Hr 1 million from its sales. At the end, the official accounting books shows Hr 1 million of income (legitimate) and Hr 1 million in expenses (fake), thus no profit and no tax paid. As a ‘bonus’ there is approximately Hr 1 million in ‘black cash’ returned to the company,” Kotenko explains.
Another way to fake accounting is to declare that something was purchased abroad while, in reality, the company simply transferred money to its foreign partners or bank accounts.
“Corruption among bureaucrats in Ukraine also forces businessman to keep shadow accounting, as they obviously cannot show money spent on a bribe in their accounting books,” says Oleg Pas, CEO of PAUDIS accounting and audit company.
Pas adds that, in this case, business owners have to come up with the idea of how to account for this money in their official accounting book, making it look like the money was spent on something else.
One of the most popular kinds of shadow accounting is paying black salaries, analysts say. It works this way: Employers declare minimal salaries for their employees to tax officials, while the employees get more in cash or in other unofficial benefits.
Kyiv Post banking sources say it is common, for instance, for banks to offer employees a higher interest rate on deposits than regular customers.
Analysts say most companies who practice these things are small- and medium-sized enterprises with local owners.
“Mostly, these are businesses like petrol stations, small-market chains, street markets and the like. Big international companies and companies with foreign investments do not practice shadow accounting,” says Valeriy Bondar, managing partner of HLB Ukraine, an international audit company. According to a Kyiv Post source at another auditing company, only eight out of their 25 clients do not use shadow accounting. “All these eight are companies with foreign capital,” says the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
Shadow records can be kept in various forms, including traditional Microsoft Excel worksheets and special accounting software.
“While the company can buy the official software, it can also download the unofficial one upon request. On many accounting Internet forums accountants openly share their experience on how shadow and so-called white accounts are to be kept,” says the accountant of a small Kyiv-based private company who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mykhailo Kolisnyk, finances expert at Inspira training center, says that many training companies that specialize in accounting consult on gaps in the law and tax administration that can be used to maximize the benefit of shadow accounting. “During their sessions they also give tips on keeping shadow and white records,” says Kolisnyk.
When contacted by the Kyiv Post, several of these companies denied wrongdoing.
Tetyana Harkavenko, an accounting trainee at Profiresurs learning center, says accountants would never admit to keeping shadow records, much less ask for advice on how to do it.
“Of course many Ukrainian companies do. But it is not something people discuss,” said Harkavenko.
Analysts say hiding real financial matters allows companies to survive under high corruption, complicated taxation and pressure from authorities. “I would say it is rather a symptom of deep systematic troubles than a disease of its own,” says Kotenko of Ernst & Young.
Mykhailo Kolisnyk says in a nation where 40 percent of the economy is in the shadows, such accounting is often seen as a form of passive social protest against a system that businessmen consider oppressive.
“While the tax rates in Ukraine are not that high, it is the way taxes are administered that is very complicated. The system is also largely overregulated and includes many hidden taxes and payments, like licenses, patents and other permissions that are not required in developed nations,” says Kolisnyk.
Ukraine ranked 152nd among nations in the 2011 World Bank annual ranking of ease of doing business.
The practice of shadow accounting is a serious crime and is punished by a fine of five times more that the amount of cash hidden.
However, analysts say it is very hard for tax authorities to detect and is usually found only if the tax police raid the premises of the company, seizing all documents, and computers.
However, the system has benefits for both businessmen and officials who get bribes for turning a blind eye, experts say.
“Consultants also earn by preserving the system and many auditors – for embellishing the accounting before the company goes public,” says Oleg Pas from PAUDIS.
Analysts agree that only major reforms in the country and general liberalization of the economy can help cure the widespread practice of shadow accounting.
“Businesses should not [have to] be afraid that, any day, virtually anyone can walk in and take over the company,” says Kotenko. “Plus taxation should be transparent and simple.
Only then will business not hide and come out of the shadows,” Kotenko adds.
at 9:12 am - admin
Ukraine Completely Removes Highly Enriched Uranium.
Today Ukraine has fulfilled its obligations and removed its entire stock of highly-enriched uranium (HEU), reported press office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Such transfer became possible through the support of the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency, acknowledged the Ukrainian government.
On March 22 Ukraine moved the last batch of highly enriched nuclear materials to Russia finalizing its commitment to get rid of HEU before the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit (March 25-26, 2012). “Such move has once again confirmed Ukraine’s long-term commitment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation,” reported Ukraine’s foreign ministry.
In return Ukraine received an equivalent amount of low enriched uranium, special equipment and technology from the U.S. According to the bilateral agreement, the United States also started construction of the neutron source using the most up-to-date technology at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology.
The above-mentioned agreement was signed by the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko on September 26, 2011, in New York. The agreement stipulated that the U.S. would assist in securing Ukraine’s vulnerable nuclear materials as well as modernizing Ukrainian civil nuclear research facilities as the country gets rid of its stock of HEU by March 2012. When obligations are fulfilled, Ukrainian civil research facilities will operate on safer low-enriched uranium. The U.S. also provided USD 60 million of financial assistance.
Ukraine first announced its decision to get rid of HEU in April 2010 when the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych participated in the Washington Summit on nuclear safety, initiated by the President of the USA Barack Obama.
In December 1994 Ukraine joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and proclaimed its non-nuclear status. Ukraine reaffirmed its non-nuclear status in its Constitution and the declaration “On the State Sovereignty of Ukraine”. The last nuclear warhead was shipped from Ukraine to Russia in 1996 but a significant amount of enriched uranium remained in storage at the Kyiv Institute for Nuclear Research, the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, and the Sevastopol National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry.
at 9:08 am - admin
Ukraine puts gas deal hopes in ‘new’ Russian leader.
Ukraine hopes to work out a new deal on the supplies of Russian gas by late May, after Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin assumes power, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said yesterday (22 March).
Yanukovich’s government has sought for more than a year to negotiate a lower price on Russian gas but talks have produced no results so far.
Kyiv, which is paying $416 (€314) per thousand cubic metres, sees a fairer price at $250 (€189).
“Expert groups are working right now, and we hope by the end of May, by the last decade of May, an acceptable solution will be found that we will discuss with … Putin,” UNIAN news agency quoted Yanukovich as saying on a trip to the southeastern city of Zaporizhya.
Yanukovich, who met Putin in Moscow this week said he also planned to meet the Russian prime minister in mid-April, before his 7 May inauguration as president.
Ukraine’s government says the high price of imported gas is a drag on the country’s economy and state budget. Ukraine heavily subsidises gas supplies to households and heating companies.
Rating agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded its outlook on Ukraine’s credit ratings to negative citing, among other factors, the “lack of clarity over the ultimate direction of government policy” with regards to gas talks with Russia.
Russia has long insisted it would review the price only if its giant gas company Gazprom was allowed to take over Ukrainian gas transit pipelines or if Ukraine joined a Russia-led Customs Union (see background). Kyiv has so far dismissed both options.
However, Yanukovich is now under political pressure to deliver a solution to the gas issue as his Party of the Regions has been slipping in opinion polls ahead of the October parliamentary elections.
Previous price disputes between the two nations have led to disruptions of Gazprom’s supplies to Europe through Ukrainian territory, prompting Russia to create alternative export routes that bypass Ukraine.
at 9:07 am - admin
Ukraine’s PM Reports on Economy Deregulation on Official Visit to Poland.
As of today a new business entity may be registered in Ukraine within three days, said Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov when visiting the Warsaw Stock Exchange in Poland. Ukrainian government actively pursues deregulation and works on reducing administrative impact on business, stated the prime minister.
The process of deregulation is expected to be finalized in a 1-1.5 years’ time, explained Azarov on his two-day state visit to the neighboring Poland. As of today Ukraine has already managed to cut the total number of state taxes in half. Corporate income tax was reduced from 25 to 21 percent. Next year it is expected to go down to 19 percent, and in 2014 – to 16 percent.
The time limit for allocation of land for construction, for example, has been reduced to maximum of 90 days. According to the high official, the Ukrainian government will stimulate businesses to work within the legal framework and pay due taxes.
Mykola Azarov also met with the Prime Minster of Poland Donald Tusk. The two prime ministers discussed the prospects of Polish-Ukrainian relations within Ukrainian declaration, which confirms the course towards the country’s integration with the European Union.
Donald Tusk also pointed out that both countries, which will host the EURO 2012 football championship the upcoming summer, were well-prepared for hosting the major sporting event. All the ongoing projects related to the championship will be finished within the next 10 weeks – in time to host the event, said Tusk. The high officials also discussed the issue of simplifying crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border during the championship, as well as improving the transport infrastructure in the two countries. It was mentioned that for the first time in history Poland and Ukraine were connected with such high-quality traffic infrastructure.
Ukraine and Poland have been closely cooperating in the past in the area of foreign policy and business. To continue both countries agreed to hold a meeting of the intergovernmental committee on trade and economic cooperation in May, 2012. The respective agreement was reached at the meeting between Ukrainian prime minister and representatives of major Polish businesses.
at 9:05 am - admin
Ukraine rape victim searches for justice.
The 18-year-old woman, prosecutors say, was gang-raped by three young men, who tried to cover up their crime by strangling her with a cord, wrapping her naked body in a blanket and dumping her at an abandoned construction site — where they set her on fire.
Amazingly, Oksana Makar survived.
But her quest for justice seemed doomed after the police released two of the three suspects whose parents had political connections in the provincial Ukrainian region.
Her case galvanized Ukrainians fed up with the official corruption that allows people with money and connections to avoid punishment, whether for violating traffic laws or more serious crimes. The protection also extends to their children, known here as “mazhory,” roughly translated as rich brats.
After a national protest campaign, the police arrested the two released suspects and charged all three with rape. The one who has remained in custody was also charged with attempted murder.
Makar remains hospitalized in serious condition, with burns over more than half of her body and severe damage to her lungs. Her right arm was amputated to stop the spread of gangrene.
Her mother said she used to be a cheerful young woman with many friends in Mykolaiv, a shipbuilding city of about a half million residents some 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of the capital, Kiev. She liked dancing in clubs, boxing and bungee jumping.
That life ended on March 9 when Makar met two young men at a bar and they invited her to a friend’s apartment.
One suspect, identified as Yevhen K., told investigators that he and two friends had sex with Makar repeatedly, including at least one time that he admitted was rape.
A videotape of his interrogation, whose authenticity has been confirmed by authorities, was shown on Ukrainian television: “She yelled and swung her arms around and I raped her,” said the 23-year-old suspect.
After Makar threatened to call police, the suspect said he first tried to strangle her with his bare hands and then finish her off with a piece of white cable he found in the apartment. She lost consciousness.
The suspect said he and his friends wrapped Makar’s naked body in a blanket and dumped it into a pit at a deserted construction site. He said he then dropped a pillow case into the pit and set it on fire.
Afterward, he said, they went home and changed into new clothes. They bought vodka at a store and went to a food stand, where one suspect ordered tea and the other a beer.
“We sat down, had a smoke and then went our own ways,” said Yevhen K., the suspect accused of attempted murder as well as rape.
Makar was saved when a passing car happened to stall right next to the construction site. The three suspects were soon arrested, and two set free.
Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has confirmed that the parents of two of the suspects are former government officials in the Mykolaiv region. Makar’s mother, Tetyana Surovitska, accused police of freeing them because of their parents’ connections.
“Where is justice?” Surovitska said in an interview with a local television channel. “Is it because I don’t have cars and apartments and connections and I cannot turn to anyone?”
She received overwhelming support not only in Mykolaiv but across the country from people tired of seeing government officials and their children go unpunished for violent crimes, including assault and deadly road accidents.
There have been dozens of cases of “mazhory” driving expensive cars while drunk and hitting pedestrians, sometimes killing them, and walking away, said political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko. The same thing often happens in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union.
“Unfortunately, this situation is typical of most post-Soviet countries when either connections or corruption is used: A high-ranking official makes a call or money is paid to a senior police official, and a person who committed a serious crime is set free,” Fesenko said.
“The Ukrainian justice system is dependent on those with power and money.”
Makar’s case clearly hit a nerve among Ukrainians, setting off several protests in Mykolaiv and elsewhere.
During one rally in Mykolaiv, dozens of activists protested outside the offices of prosecutors and police, demanding that they punish the perpetrators of the rape as well as the officers who released the two suspects.
Protests, organized on social networking sites, were also held in the Black Sea port of Odessa and the eastern city of Kharkiv. In Kiev, five members of the women’s rights group Femen, which stages topless protests, bared their chests on top of the entrance to the Prosecutor General’s Office and held banners reading “Death to the Sadists” and “Execute the Bastards.”
Meanwhile, dozens of Mykolaiv residents rushed to donate blood for Makar and sympathizers from across the country sent donations to her mother. Makar is in a hospital in the eastern city of Donetsk, waiting to be operated on by a burn specialist from Switzerland.
The Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating Surovitska’s claims that the suspects were released illegally.
President Viktor Yanukovych is also looking into the case.
To Surovitska, the high-level interest is little consolation as she cares for her only daughter.
“She loved life so much, but they destroyed her body, her soul and her spirit,” Surovitska said in a phone interview. “They destroyed my child.”
January 21st, 2012 at 3:09 pm - admin
Emergencies minister asking premier to ensure adequate funding for flood prevention in Ukraine
Emergency Situations Minister of Ukraine Viktor Baloha has asked Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to provide adequate funding for prevention of flooding in the country, the Emergencies Ministry’s press service reported.
“The emergencies minister has asked the Ukrainian prime minister to instruct the central and local executive authorities to provide an adequate level of funding for flood prevention measures in 2012 in compliance with relevant government programs, and to complete the restoration of major facilities that were affected by floods in 2008,” reads Baloha’s letter to the head of government.
According to the minister, a total of UAH 136 million were allocated for this purpose in 2011, which is only 20% of the funds envisaged in the government programs, and the state budget for 2012 assigns UAH 190 million, which is 27% of the plan.
The flood control facilities in western regions haven’t been finished yet, the minister said.
According to him, a total of UAH 1.076 billion is needed for the completion of these facilities, including UAH 430 million for 322 facilities in Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi regions.
at 3:08 pm - admin
No unanimity about likely new chief of SBU among Ukrainian politicians
There is no single opinion about a candidate for the post of the head of the Security Service of Ukraine among the country’s politicians, according to sources of Interfax-Ukraine.
In a particular, the agency’s interlocutors suggested appointment of incumbent first deputy head of the SBU Volodymyr Rokytsky to this post.
Others do not rule out appointment of Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin to this post.
Another candidate for the post of the SBU chief may be head of the SBU branch in Luhansk region Oleksandr Tretyakov. The agency’s interlocutors didn’t rule out that the Security Service may be lead by a chief of the SBU branch from another region.
As reported, on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed a decree dismissing Valeriy Khoroshkovsky as head of the SBU. The president appointed Khoroshkovsky to the post of Finance Minister of Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian legislation, the SBU head is nominated by the president and approved by the Verkhovna Rada.
at 3:06 pm - admin
Energy security, gas talks with Russia on agenda of NSDC meeting, says source
Issues of energy security will be on the agenda of a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) on January 20, an informed source has told Interfax-Ukraine.
“In particular, the participants of the meeting will discuss the energy market’s development, and hear reports on the gas talks with the Russian Federation and the issues of gas supplies to Ukraine,” the source said on Thursday.
As reported, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych will chair a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) on Friday, January 20, in Kyiv. After the meeting, NSDC Secretary Raisa Bohatyriova will make a statement to the media.
at 3:03 pm - admin
Ukraines main news Only Russia knows aim of South Stream’s construction, says US official
Only Russia knows the aim of the construction of the South Stream pipeline, Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar said in his speech during a conference entitled “Natural Gas and Energy Future of Ukraine” in Kyiv on Thursday, according to a participant of the conference.
“As for the so-called South Stream, the Russians have all the same taken to building the South Stream Pipeline, although they are the only ones who know why,” Morningstar said.
According to him, implementation of the project will influence Russia-Ukraine relations.
As reported, in late December 2011 Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that the parameters of the South Stream project would depend on Ukraine’s negotiating position, considering that Turkey gave Russia its consent to the latter laying the South Stream gas pipeline along the Black Sea floor.
At the same time, asked about a possible decrease in South Stream’s capacity if agreement is reached with Ukraine on participating in its gas transport system, Miller said: “South Stream is already at the construction stage, a consolidated feasibility study has been approved, there is an offshore section, and there is an overland section. The design capacity has been approved at 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year, and the gas pipeline involves constructing four threads of 15.5 bcm each. In December 2015, the first thread will be launched, and in the future we will gradually increase to the stated capacity of 63 bcm of gas per year.”
As of today, Ukraine is the main transporter of Russian gas to Europe. In January 2006 and 2009, disputes between Ukraine and Russia led to a halt in Russian gas transit to Europe. Gazprom has claimed multiple times that it was impossible to control gas transit volumes through Ukraine – it said that the country picks off as much as it can from the transit flow, rather than as stipulated under its gas supply contract. The design capacity of the two new gas pipelines – Nord Stream (55 bcm) and South Stream (63 bcm) – equals the amount of Russian gas transit to Europe.
at 3:00 pm - admin
French human rights ambassador on Tymoshenko situation: ‘There will be chances to question Ukraine very seriously’
The French Foreign Ministry has expressed its concern over the fact that the country’s human rights ambassador, Francois Zimeray, was not allowed to visit former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the Kachanivska penal colony.
“There will be other chances this year, among them Euro 2012 and the OSCE presidency, that will be important opportunities for dialogue. There will be opportunities to question Ukraine very seriously, and I hope that Ukraine will show to the world that it can respect human rights, fundamental rights, in a better way than now,” Euronews TV channel quoted Zimeray as saying, according to Tymoshenko’s official Web site.
According to Tymoshenko’s daughter, Yevheniya, the authorities are deliberately concealing the real situation from her mother.
“The regime is using it to put … psychological pressure on her, to break her physically and psychologically, and they are doing it every day by putting her under 24 hours surveillance, which is also illegal, and that is probably the reason why they didn’t allow Ambassador Zimeray to come and see her,” she said.
As reported, the French ambassador for human rights on Wednesday was not allowed to meet with the ex-premier in Kachanivska colony in Kharkiv. According to him, he was told that he could not see Tymoshenko because at the time of his arrival she was being interrogated.
at 2:58 pm - admin
Ukraine’s ex-president Kuchma cleared of criminal charges related to reporter’s murder
A court of appeals in Kyiv has upheld the decision not to start a criminal case against Ukraine’s second president Leonid Kuchma [whose tenure lasted from 1995 to 2005], related to his suspected involvement in the killing of reporter Georgy Gongadze.
The court’s board of judges announced its decision on Friday after hearing prosecutors’ and the injured party’s appeal against the decision of Kyiv’s Pechersky Court not to start a criminal case against Kuchma.
at 2:55 pm - admin
Azarov: trilateral consortium the only solution to gas problem
Ukrainian Premier Mykola Azarov has said that Ukraine took no unilateral actions during the gas negotiations with Russia, and the only solution to the gas problem could be creation of a trilateral gas consortium for the management of the Ukrainian gas transport system (GTS).
“The proposal for creation of a trilateral gas transporting consortium, which was developed by the government headed by [at that time Ukrainian Premier Viktor] Yanukovych in 2004, to release a part of that huge load connected with the maintenance of the system, is the only possible solution. Now we are finally approaching the finish, the final stage of the negotiations. And Ireally hope that they will be finished as soon as possible, because I know what the real situation is like,” the premier said at a press conference to sum up the results of the government’s work in 2011 on Friday.
“The talks are so difficult that neither the president, nor the government will give up national interests. No one-sided agreements are discussed at all, and that is why the negotiations are so difficult,” Azarov said.
“We have extremely unfavourable contract terms. We are facing a situation in which gas pipelines are being constructed to bypass us and across Turkey, I mean Nabucco and other alternatives to our system for gas supplies to Europe,” the premier added.
“Without Russia, the owner of the gas, and its consumer [the European Union], we will never reach an agreement and receive long-term guarantees for our GTS. These are huge expenses for us – the system maintenance, this large system, which was constructed in its time for the transportation of 150 billion cubic meters of gas. And if it works at a lower capacity, this will bring losses to the country,” the premier said.
As reported, Ukraine expects to agree on the creation of a trilateral consortium for the management of its GTS.
According to Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Boiko, Ukraine is not considering the possibility of selling its GTS to Russia, in the same way Belarus sold its system.
During the negotiations on the creation of a trilateral consortium, Ukraine is following two principles: receiving a guarantee of the amount of Russian gas transit to Europe and receiving investments from European international financial organization for the modernization of the Ukrainian GTS.
at 2:54 pm - admin
Premier projects Russian gas price in 1Q at $412.5 per 1,000 cubic meters
The price of Russian natural gas to be imported to Ukraine in the first quarter of 2012 will be $412.5 per 1,000 cubic meters, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s presentation prepared for his Friday press conference on the results of 2011.
At the same time, NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy forecasts that the price of imported gas in the first quarter of 2012 will be $416 per 1,000 cubic meters, that in the second and third quarters of 2012 will be $418 per 1,000 cubic meters, and in the fourth quarter will be $413 per 1,000 cubic meters. The forecasted average price over the year will be $415.77 per 1,000 cubic meters.
at 2:52 pm - admin
Ukraine this week has announced a tender to select an appraiser of its gas transportation system (GTS), Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Boiko has said.
“We have announced a tender to select an appraiser for the consortium and the gas transportation system, and when the assessment is completed, we will be ready to give the information to European partners,” he said on the air of the Inter TV Channel.
According to the minister, Ukraine will provide the European partners with specific proposals to participate in the creation of a tripartite consortium to manage the Ukrainian gas transportation system after its evaluation.
“We really did not provide specific proposals because the evaluation has not been completed. We can give specific suggestions when the evaluation is finished. We will give the information on the cost of the gas transportation system for participation in the consortium,” the minister said.
Boiko confirmed that the issue on the creation of the consortium with the participation of Europe was discussed with European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.
“We really talked with the EU Commissioner for Energy and said that we are ready to create the consortium. We sent a letter saying that we are ready to consider them as our partners,” he added.
at 2:49 pm - admin
Ukraine intends to gradually reduce the volume of gas bought from Russia starting from 2013, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Boiko said.
“We have told our Russian partners that we cannot buy [a lot of gas at the current price] and have to switch to alternative energy resources. If the gas price goes down, we will buy more of it, and if no, we will be reducing its consumption from year to year. This year [Ukraine will buy] 27 billion cubic meters, and we plan to further reduce the volume next year,” Boiko said in a TV talk show hosted by journalist Yevhen Kyseliov late on Friday.
He stressed that this decision is circumspect, and Ukraine would import as much gas from Russia as necessary for the country’s economy. “We worked on this and we are conscious about the reduction of gas purchases,” said the minister.
Boiko said that the Ukrainian gas sales market is among the two largest export markets for Russia, therefore the parties should find mutually beneficial and acceptable forms of cooperation.
“We have quite an attractive and capacious market for our Russian partners, because buying 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year, we are second following Germany. And when we are reducing purchases, the market is disappearing [for Gazprom]. It is very important for the company to have guaranteed sales and a guaranteed market,” Bioko said.
Earlier, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the energy minister reported that Ukraine would reduce Russian gas purchases in 2012 to 27 billion cubic meters.
According to Naftogaz Ukrainy, about ten letters with the request to set natural gas supplies to Ukraine in 2012 at 27 billion cubic meters, and the company undertakes to take the volume and pay for it according to the current contract, were sent to Gazprom.
At the same time, Gazprom expressed anxiety about the statement, noting that the annual volume of gas under the contract could be changed by agreement of the parties not later than six months before the year of supplies. Along with this, “no documents to change the volume of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine were signed.”
From the start of the year, Ukraine sharply – almost by 3 times – reduced the taking of imported gas. In late 2011 the daily taking of gas was 100-110 million cubic meters, and from early January the volume started falling significantly, and by January 9 the figure declined to 33.3 million cubic meters.
According to the gas contracts signed by Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, Naftogaz Ukrainy planned from 2010 to buy 52 billion cubic meters of natural gas. At the same time, if Naftogaz took less than 80% of the volume, it had to pay for 80% of the contracted gas volume (take or pay).
The contract foresees the reduction in gas purchases by 20% (i.e. to 41.6 billion cubic meters). Along with this, such contract should be signed by July 1 of the year prior to the year of supplies. Given the take or pay terms, the minimum gas volume in this case is 33.3 billion cubic meters.
In 2011, Naftogaz’s contractual obligations on gas purchases for 2011 were reduced to 41.6 billion cubic meters of gas, i.e. the take or pay obligation is 33.3 billion cubic meters.
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