Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Russia Acts Illegally OR What Else is New?!?

Former economic advisor to Putin, Andrey Illarionov, who resigned on December 27 because of 'differences of opinion on economic policy,' in an interview aired on Jan. 02 on Ekho Moskvy and quoted by BBC Monitoring Services said Gazprom had no right to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on 1 January because an earlier agreement with importer Naftohaz Ukrayiny made it impossible for Gazprom to force a price rise to 230 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.

"Today's prices, 50 dollars per 1,000 cu. m., were set by a supplementary agreement to a contract between Gazprom and Naftohaz [Ukrayiny] which was signed on 8 August 2004. The contract, according to the text of the supplementary agreement, is to be in effect for five years, up to 2009. The supplementary agreement states that the price of 50 dollars per 1,000 cu. m. is fixed. For those who don't fully understand the meaning of the Russian word fixed, it says two lines further down that these prices are not changeable."

Ukraine is willing to negotiate increased rates but is not willing to submit to political and economic blackmail. And as Spiegel put it:
The current mood in Ukraine could likely be best described with the slogan: "We would rather freeze than give in."


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