Ukraine's leader repeats call to review gas deal with Russia
The agreements "are stuffed with political schemes..."
Ukraine`s president has said he is confident that the "unprofessional" natural gas contracts signed with Russia earlier this year will soon be reviewed, as Ukraine will be unable to meet its obligations under the current terms, RIA Novosti reported.
"The agreements reached by the prime minister [Yulia Tymoshenko] with Russia in January are unfavorable," Yushchenko said in an interview with the Delo newspaper published on Tuesday.
The agreements "are stuffed with political schemes, and I have no doubt that the sides will eventually review these documents, because we cannot live with them. With each passing month, it will become more and more difficult to fulfill the obligations assumed by Ukraine," he said.
Russian energy giant Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Ukraine on January 1 over non-payment, and the sides` failure to reach a new gas deal. A week later, Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas intended for EU consumers, and cut off supplies to the European Union via the country, prompting two weeks of gas shortfalls across much of Eastern Europe.
The standoff was resolved after negotiations between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko resulted in the signing of a new gas agreement for 2009-2019 on January 19.
Under the terms of the new gas deal, Ukraine will pay Russia European market prices - set at $450 per 1,000 cu m for the first quarter - with a 20% discount in 2009, while transit fees fixed under a previous agreement remain unchanged. Yushchenko has repeatedly criticized the deal.
"I do not discount the possibility that on December 31, Ukraine could face $2 billion in debt that it will have to pay off in a few hours. This is a time bomb which has been set because of a lack of professionalism," he said.