Archive for May, 2010


Taking integration steps……..

May 25, 2010

“We have a cooperation plan with the European Union for 2010 and we are fulfilling it. First of all we are working towards liberalization of visa procedures which would result in visa-free zone between Ukraine and Europe. Secondly, we are aimed at free trade zone with Europe. In June the parliament is going to pass a legislation package that would give us a green light for more substantial negotiations with the European Union” – Yanukovych said.

I look forward to seeing this vote in the RADA after the “united opposition” have stated to the EU they would support such moves. 

The question will be is that “support” by way of positively voting for the laws required and thus being seen to agree with the government…… would happen in a more mature political environment………or will it simply be a matter of providing no opposition and obstaining from the vote…….so as to be seen not to agreee with the government even though they do agree with the policy?

If the latter, how then to campaign on European integration when not being on record as voting for it?

If the former, how then to continue to rubbish the current government as being Pro-Moscow when it is taking definite step towards European integration?


Umbrella’s Gas Masks, Punch Bags & Smoke Bombs in Europe……

May 24, 2010

Ukraine to assume presidency of CoE Committee of Ministers next year
Ukraine will assume presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe during its 121st session in May 2011. Such a decision was taken at a meeting of the CoE Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported.

While describing the priorities of the future presidency, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Kupchyshyn said that Ukraine would focus on the importance of implementing decisions of the Interlaken Conference on the Reform of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as prioritize the implementation of a memorandum of mutual understanding between the CoE and the European Union. Kupchyshyn said that joint efforts aimed at improving the effectiveness of the Council of Europe’s activity would have a positive effect on all the countries belonging to this association. The chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has currently been handed over from Switzerland to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

I do hope they know what they are letting themselves in for……….]BBC


Back to Gas………

May 23, 2010

With the merger of NaftogazUkraine and Gazprom exceptionally unlikely……but the possibility of joint ventures remaining, here is a few gas articles with nothing to do with Gazprom……..

Interfax-Ukraine NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy CEO Yevhen Bakulin and President of the European Union of the Natural Gas Industry (Eurogas) Domenico Dispenza on May 21, 2010, signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin, Germany, the Ukrainian company said in a press release issued on Friday.

According to the press release, Naftogaz earlier started the procedure of becoming a Eurogas associated member.

The major task of Eurogas’s work is to facilitate the development of the European gas market, expand international cooperation in the gas sector, and support European companies’ interests in the issues of supplying, selling and storing natural gas.

Currently Eurogas consists of 49 members from 27 countries. Of them there are 35 gas companies, and 12 national gas unions.

Interesting?…….Maybe not, but at least they are a change to the norm when it comes to the reporting of gas here.


Hanna Herman……You are the weakest link……..

May 22, 2010

Ukraine’s most popular political talks shows must be anchored by Ukrainian journalists, not foreigners, deputy head of presidential administration Hanna Herman said, speaking on Ukrayina TV channel May 20, The Ukrayinska Pravda reports May 21.

“I would like Ukrainian journalists to run such popular political talk shows. There are many able journalists in Ukraine who know well how to do their job,” she added.

“We are still victims to that imperial complex that “everything coming from Moscow is good, everything Ukrainian is bad,” Herman said, speaking about Savik Shuster who is citizen of Canada and Italy and who worked in Russia for some time.

Savik Shuster is anchorman of the Shuster Live political talk show. Another alien, Russian Yevgenij Kiseliov, runs the popular Big Politics show. [Both Shuster and Kiseliov moved to Ukraine from Moscow, as is widely believed fleeing from political persecution – Transl.]

Well dear readers, not wishing to appear to split hairs with Ms Herman, after all she was a Radio Free Europe person herself before joining Party of Regions and the Presidential Administration………but…….

If Ukrainian political shows should have Ukrainians anchoring them, then shouldn’t the Prime Minister of Ukraine also be a Ukrainian?

As it happens, the two most popular political shows are hosted by a Russian (Kiseliov)………. just as the Ukrainian Prime Minister is Russian by birth…….and Shuster (Italian/Canadian citizenship).

Both were incredibly popular in Russia on similar shows when I lived in Moscow and obviously fell out with the Kremlin because neither really show any more respect than is necessary for any politician that go on their shows…….and quite rightly.

The reason they are popular is that they are, by and large, good at what they do and ask far better questions than anything you see asked by Ukrainian journalists who are generally very poor…… matter what Ms Herman likes to think.

Both, like the Ukrainian Prime Minister, do their shows in Russian language not Ukrainian……as of course more people understand Russian in Ukraine than Ukrainian in Ukraine according to their media preamble relating to the shows.

I am digressing though, if the most popular political talk shows in Ukraine should be hosted by Ukrainians simply because they would be Ukrainian, then surely the Prime Miniter of Ukraine should be Ukrainiane by the same reasoning.

Once again, as she has proved rather consistantly over the years, Hanna Herman, you are the weakest link……..


A few words from President Yanukovych

May 21, 2010

Speech from Kyiv to Medevedev and Kyiv ecnonomic forum………..

Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich!

Dear participants of the Forum!

I would like to note with satisfaction that we return to the tradition of holding joint Ukrainian-Russian economic forums.

The path of dialogue and cooperation is the only correct choice in the conditions of systemic crisis that has engulfed virtually the entire world.

We, of course, regret the lost time and opportunities. But thanks to lessons learned, we became pragmatic and focused.

I would like to dwell on some of these lessons.

Lesson One. The global crisis has once again demonstrated the vulnerability of even the strongest and most developed economies.

The United States, European Union, Japan, Great Britain are all through strength test. All the countries of the “big twenty” are experiencing losses.

The crisis has again demonstrated that the positive outcome is possible only with mutual responsibility and support.

Being strategic partners, Ukraine and Russia at the same time are large and reliable partners of the European Union.

In the current very difficult circumstances for the European Union, we must maintain the stability of relations, particularly in the crucial energy sector.

I am certain that our agreements in this area will be an additional guarantee for all EU countries and allow Ukraine to consistently conduct deep reforms in the energy sector.

Lesson Two. High level of interdependence of national economies in a globalized world requires us to elaborate new approaches to long-term national development planning.

It is critical for Ukraine that our bilateral agreements on economic cooperation “worked” for national development projects that we are preparing in the framework of the program of reforms. And our actions will always be open, clear and predictable for our partners in the West and the East.

Lesson Three. Economic processes are directly affecting the state of affairs in security area.

Old stereotypes often prevent us from reaching a new level of relations. I am sure that new approaches to security must be associated with guaranteeing security of development, rather than with preservation of the so-called “old order”.

Ukraine conducts non-aligned policy to prevent appearance of new dividing lines in Europe, as well as to strengthen and enhance development of the whole European space.

Our task is to elaborate new mechanisms of interaction in the area of security with the member countries of military alliances, non-aligned countries and countries with neutral status.

This algorithm can be the basis for a modernized architecture of united and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic region.

The principle of collective solving geopolitical and security issues will be decisive in the future post-crisis world.

With Dmitry Medvedev, we have offered new initiatives on security in the Black Sea region and settlement of the Transnistrian problem. In these incentives we proceed from the principle of collective and concerted action by all the interested parties.

Lesson Four. The European choice of Ukraine remains just a dream until deep social-economic reforms are realized.

We have wasted much time because of the instability and ineffectiveness of government in the past years. Now we must catch up and it is not easy.

Ukraine has a real chance to conclude negotiations and sign the Association Agreement with the European Union in a short time and solve the problem of visa regulations and expanded free trade area establishment.

I created the Committee on Reforms, which involves leading Ukrainian and foreign experts, representatives of regional authorities and national science.

In early June we will present a program of economic reforms in Ukraine. The “new wave” of reforms will promote a new quality of economic growth, efficiency of competitive market mechanisms, economic attractiveness of Ukraine for investors.

The package of Ukrainian reforms is aimed at long-term perspective and is designed to reach an ambitious goal – to create modern competitive economy, new infrastructure, efficient social-oriented state, high quality of life.

We have set a goal to conduct systematic modernization of the country, turn it into a strong and prosperous republic.

At the same time, we must admit that we begin the race with a “low start”.

Without exaggeration, last year was the most economically difficult for modern Ukraine. We decided to conduct a comprehensive audit of public finances with the help of international companies. Despite the difficult economic and financial situation, I am confident that we will adequately overcome all the existing difficulties.

In this brief period we were able to achieve significant changes for the better. First of all we stabilized the situation in the economy. In the first quarter real GDP growth was 4.8%.

Between January and April the industrial growth was 12,6%, agricultural – almost 5% and turnover – more than 16%.

Inflation rates were significantly decreased and exchange rate stabilized.

The growth of export over import has begun; the situation with foreign trade and balance of payments of the country is improving.

The Parliament approved the State Budget of Ukraine for 2010, which is based on realistic figures.

I would like to emphasize that the spending on implementation of scientific and technological innovations and investment projects in aerospace and in rocket-space industry, energy and agriculture was tripled by this budget.

We seek to reestablish cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Ukraine’s sovereign rating is increasing. Our country is again perceived as a solvent state.

According to our calculations, such dynamics of Ukraine’s economy growth will last until the end of the year, but the next year we should start within the Program of Ukraine’s development until 2020. It means that this year we must elaborate such a program.

The anti-crisis measures program has started working, and it helps stabilizing political and economic situation in the country.

Implementation of large infrastructure projects should play an important role here. Including those, organized in preparation of Ukraine for hosting EURO 2012.

The appropriate legislative work is already done.

In the same context I would like to indicate that from our part we are ready to contribute to preparation for the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi.

Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich,

Dear Colleagues,

Without a doubt, deepening and broadening of relations with our strategic partners will promote effective development of Ukrainian economy.

First of all, it refers to the Russian Federation.

Unfortunately, last year the trade turnover between our countries fell by more than 35%.

However, now, when the new government is responsible for the situation in the country, the trade turnover has almost doubled compared to the same period last year. And the primary task for our governments is at least to return it by the end of the year to the level we had before the crisis hit. And we believe it is quite possible.

We are optimistic about the prospects of economic cooperation between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The main thing is that we returned to strategic partnership, provided by the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation. New opportunities for transition to a qualitatively new stage of interaction between our countries are now opened. I mean upgrading the whole spectrum of trade and economic relations, development of innovative and investment directions and bilateral cooperation in economy.

Yesterday, the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia chaired the third meeting of the Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission. The work of this important institution has been resumed after almost a two-year break.

We created atmosphere of partnership and trust that provided necessary conditions for constructive and effective work to address the entire range of important issues of Ukrainian-Russian cooperation.

Following the meeting, together with President Medvedev, as Co-Chairmen of the Commission, we instructed the Governments of Ukraine and Russia to elaborate a number of practical steps to fill our bilateral relations with substance and develop “roadmaps” of mutually beneficial initiatives in priority sectors of economy.

In our opinion, this applies to:

– Development of Ukraine’s capabilities of oil and gas transportation to the European Union. Long-term strategy and mechanisms of its joint implementation, coordinated with the Russian and European partners, must be developed;

– Cooperation in energy sector;

– Cooperation in high-tech industries, in which both Ukraine and Russia have experience and achievements, such as space exploration, aircraft building, biological and information technology, production and service cooperation, joint actions at markets of the third countries;

– Creation of favorable conditions for trade cooperation through synergy of customs and tax authorities, joint technical and legal support of trade-flows, combating smuggling, unfair competition and “laundering” of proceeds;

– Regulation of labor migration and provision of social protection to our citizens working abroad.

In our opinion, these and other promising areas should be the basis for long-term comprehensive ten-year Program of Economic Cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the Program of Bilateral Interregional and Border Cooperation.

In addition, we agreed to hold the Russian-Ukrainian Interregional Economic Forum under the patronage of the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine in 2010 in Krasnodar Krai and another, in 2011 in Donetsk region, as well as Russian-Ukrainian Business Forum on infrastructure projects and modernization issues in October 2010 in Kyiv.

Coordinated work of all departments of the Ukrainian-Russian Interstate Commissions produced a package of signed bilateral documents. In particular, we signed the agreement on demarcation of the Ukrainian-Russian state border, which will enable us to proceed with practical delimitation of its land part.

The Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in utilizing and development of the Russian global navigation satellite system GLONASS and a number of interdepartmental documents on cooperation in education, science and culture were signed.

Commission’s meeting confirmed that both Ukraine and Russia are ready to continue the established trustworthy and fruitful dialogue at all levels of interaction without exception, and aim to achieve specific mutually beneficial results.

Thank you for your attention.


Getting busy on the foreign policy front!

May 21, 2010

Well dear readers, I can’t remember the last time Ukraine has been so busy when it comes to foreign policy regardless of whether it is with swift decision makers like Russia, China and the USA or the slothes of the EU.

Aside from the RBSF deal, gas deal, possible cooperation in aviation, space, energy and technology with Russia……all happening at a pace, there is also China wanting to carry out joint ventures with Ukraine in similar fields, as well as other high tech areas, giving up highly enriched nuclear material to please the US, active and consistant negotiation with the EU on the free trade agreement and visa free travel…….not to mention ongoing and seemingly fruitful talks with the IMF, WB, EBRD and European bank.

Add to this visa free negotiations with Israel and Turkey to name but two, active reengagement with the CIS, the allowing of several NATO exercises on Ukrainian soil very shortly plus official invitations to Vietnam and other eastern nations and it seems things are moving in many directions at a serious pace……or at least the pace that others involved in the bilateral negotiations can move at.

Now many will not be happy with certain policy decisions but it seems very difficult to question the energy that is being put into carving bilateral relations globally.

Let’s just hope that the majority will be good decisions with Ukrainian interests at heart.

Time will tell!


Grandstanding, orchestrated……..or transparent?

May 20, 2010

Well dear readers, we already have RADA television which shows the RADA at……..”work”, live and as it happens.

Now we will have live televised meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine…..

Interfax-Ukraine Starting from Wednesday, May 19, the First National Channel will broadcast live the meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Telekrytyka Web site reported on Tuesday.

The broadcast will start at 10 a.m. The channel will broadcast the opening speech of Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and several initial questions and answers, according to Deputy Director General of National Television Channel of Ukraine on Information Issues Oleksandr Panteleimonov. The average length of the broadcasts will be 30-40 minutes.

No doubt it will be of interest to some, but is it grandstanding?  Is it political monopoly of the airwaves?  Is it an orchestrated fan dance creating a facade of public openness and transparency…….or is it a genuine attempt to keep everyone up to speed with what is being talked about in the corridors of power in Kyiv?

I will watch and let you know!


Another Medvedev Speech in Kyiv

May 19, 2010

Mr President, colleagues,

I have just arrived from a meeting with students from the National University of Kiev. There, responding to a question the students asked me about the immediate steps we should take in terms of Russian-Ukrainian relations, I said that first, we need to work on the economy, second, we need to work on the economy, and then, we need to work on the economy some more. Clearly, we have problems in other areas, which have accumulated over the recent years, but the economy is more important, and moreover, this is the area where we might have the most alarming problems. So, I am very happy that we are meeting today at a business forum like this and that it is finally taking place. I hope that it will result in very practical outcomes, because although it is nice to meet in order to see one another (I know many of the Ukrainian business community representatives here, and naturally, I know about their relations with our business representatives), it is even better to act and make progress.

Mr Yanukovych just gave a detailed analysis of what we have recently accomplished. I fully agree with him. The Russian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission has begun its work. I spoke about this yesterday, and today I would like to note that the commission is meeting only for the third time. We established it five years ago, or perhaps even more than that. This is only the third meeting, while it probably should have been its tenth or twelfth already, because if this mechanism is working, then it should be working, considering the relations between our nations, at least twice a year. The years lost are the years of wasted opportunities and mutual claims. Therefore, we need to do everything to ensure that we do not find ourselves in that situation again, but instead, that we reach a brand new level of cooperation as quickly as possible. We know what this means, so I won’t specifically mention it. Clearly, our cooperation covers all areas of our bilateral relations, including energy, mechanical engineering, banking, transportation, aviation, and defence sectors, and what we call the high-tech or new economy.

And so, we have things to work on, particularly given the crisis that the President of Ukraine spoke about. Indeed, the crisis has hit all companies, and the Russian and Ukrainian economies, too. Although we are noticing a certain revival, there are still some alarming trends on the global markets and the international financial market. And the European Union’s attempts to overcome their current difficulties generally demonstrate that the crisis is not over yet.

I will be attending the G8 and G20 summits in June, and in this connection I would like to say that, given the restoration of full-fledged relations between Russia and Ukraine and the renewal of strategic dialogue, I would like to rely on the common approaches at the G8 and G20 meetings. Russia is ready to defend our consolidated approach to configuring the global financial system. I think that this is very important, especially since it also represents an opportunity for Ukraine to participate in these discussions, at least indirectly, through Russia’s representatives.

What’s most important is that we must lay the foundations for the future. After all, Russia is still among the main investors in Ukraine’s economy, ranking fourth after Cyprus, Germany, and the Netherlands. With Cyprus and the Netherlands, we know what kind of jurisdiction and what kind of investment we are talking about. Indeed, often, they are investing in themselves. And clearly, Germany is a major investor, while Russia is in fourth place.

But speaking about the future, I feel that Russia could become the number-one investor, and not because of any geopolitical reasons, but simply because our economies are very close. And indeed, we are very closely connected. Therefore, as of January 1 the volume of Russia’s direct investment, which currently stands at 2.7 billion dollars, is good, but at the same time, not that much. Here, I think we have another matter to discuss.

We agreed to develop joint projects in all areas, and we will do this. Ukrainian businesses are also working on the Russian market, and they, too, are quite active and aggressive. Direct investments may not be as high as they should be; based on our calculations, they make up about 165 million dollars. Nearly half of that money goes toward the manufacturing sector and one third is directed toward the financial sector, which demonstrates the same distortion I spoke about. I think that if we had taken the right steps to develop cooperation between our economies in recent years, if we had not wasted any opportunities, then these investments would have been bigger.

What should be done to make them bigger? We need to clear the logjams of the past. I have already spoken to Mr Yanukovych about this today. I said that we are ready to work on it, because claims are always mutual. But if I am to speak absolutely sincerely (taking into account the size of our investments and what is being cautiously referred to as political instability in Ukraine) it is nevertheless clear that Russia has had some rather significant risks and claims associated with that period. Incidentally, the President of Ukraine and I agreed that I will prepare a special memorandum on this matter and pass it on to him. I think that our Ukrainian partners can do the same with regard to the Russian market. Here, we really need to act directly and openly, without shying away from anything, especially since we are truly partners and we currently have friendly relations. Thus, I’m addressing all Russian business representatives present here today. I have some information, but I want to update it and pass it on to my colleagues.

We still need to do a great deal to improve the investment climate in Russia and here in Ukraine. Clearly, what’s most important is to minimise the risk for investors. We know what to work on, we know our weak spots; we are aware of the flaws in our economy, the problems with our law enforcement and judicial systems. If we are able to structure all of this properly, we will have fewer of these problems. No one can promise that they will disappear immediately, but there will certainly be less of them. And specific suggestions can be made to improve tax, customs, banking, and insurance legislation – in other words, the legal framework we need to develop full-fledged economic ties. We will certainly work on this.

As for the question of how to do this work: we have our commission, we have a business forum, we have ministries and departments, and we have other platforms that can be used, including the interregional forums mentioned by the President of Ukraine. It is true that we have agreed to meet in Krasnodar Territory this year and later in Donetsk region.

I would also like to say that we are open to the most sincere and direct dialogue with our Ukrainian partners and business representatives. We understand what we are looking at. We are all working in Europe. Mr Yanukovych said that Ukraine is ready to develop relations with the European Union, including associate membership. Naturally, this is Ukraine’s sovereign decision on how to develop its contacts with the European Union.

Our relations with the European Union – I mean the Russian Federation’s relations – in some areas are even more serious than just association, because trade turnover between Russia and the European Union is approximately 250 billion dollars. I would like to point out that unfortunately, Ukraine’s turnover with the EU is only 23 billion, but I hope that this year, it will grow to 35 or 40 billion. Still, you can see the difference.

What does this mean? It means that we must jointly think about the integration mechanisms in our relations with the European Union, which is very important to us, given that both our economies are oriented toward Europe and given the European identity of our nations. But at the same time, we must look at cooperation options along other integration tracks – naturally, with due regard to volumes and conditions that our nations deem acceptable. And so, I would like to say that Russia is ready to discuss cooperation with Ukraine on other integration platforms, including the Common economic space and the Customs Union – again, if this is appealing or necessary.

I would like to say again that I am very happy to finally have this kind of meeting. I hope that it will be productive and direct. I count on our colleagues to express what they think about ways to develop business cooperation in this new setting, since it is indeed new.

* * *

I will try to say a few words based on what has been stated. In my view, the speeches here were both specific and brief, which is really good. And nearly all the areas that were addressed in these speeches show promise for growth and opportunities for cooperation between our nations.

In talking about technological development, I agree: we need to move on both in terms of innovations and in terms of 4G network cooperation. We have some good practice in this area in our nation, so it would also be good if we could join efforts on matters related to new innovative clusters. Let’s wait and see. If you feel that we can integrate Crimea and Skolkovo, we certainly won’t object. What’s most important is for all of it to yield results, to work and make head.

I would like to warmly support the statements made by our bankers regarding the involvement of our Ukrainian partners in working to create an international financial centre in Moscow. It is true that we are working on this very actively. I have met with CEOs of the world’s largest banks and I am dealing with this matter personally; I held a special meeting. We would like to accelerate this process. We worked on this earlier as well, but we feel that now, as we overcome the global financial crisis, this may be the very moment when it will be easier for us to discuss certain issues with the global financial community, as well as the major players. Thus, if our partners are interested, then we would certainly be happy to have them join our discussions of the topic. We could even find a special proxy to work on this on behalf of Ukraine and have him or her included in our working group. Because we understand that if we create a centre like this in Moscow, we would like our closest neighbours and business partners to participate.

And the topic of settlements in national currencies is also relevant. Wherever I go nowadays, whatever nation I’m visiting, I always bring this issue up. Last time, I discussed this matter in Turkey, and before that, I discussed it with a number of other nations. China is actively working on it, as you already know. I think that we need to think about strengthening this component of our financial relations. At some point, this really could insure us against complications and problems related to the exchange rate of the dollar, the euro, and other currencies. This does not mean that these problems are simple and that we will not face any difficulties at all, but it is worth talking about.

We are also ready to work on the issue of energy exports and power industry reform, especially if our experience can be helpful.

Our projects, the ones my colleagues mentioned, particularly the one mentioned by Sberbank’s CEO, the so-called electronic social card, is an interesting thing. I am certain that Ukraine will also switch to such solutions. We are ready to share our experience, and perhaps even work on some kind of joint product, because ultimately, this is the future. It is clear that very soon, every resident in Russia and in Ukraine will have a card like that, and we simply need to identify the right kind of platform. So, I think that it would be interesting to join efforts here as well. In any case, we are making this shift; I have introduced special laws on this matter, and I think that some of them have already been passed and are coming into force. We will continue working in the areas that our colleagues brought up.

To answer the question about cooperation with Central Asian nations, including Uzbekistan, and the options of subsequent transit of gas purchased [from Central Asian countries] through the Russian territory, – you know, this is an on-going issue, but it’s never a bilateral topic – it’s always trilateral. Ultimately, it rests upon our agreements with our Uzbek partners or other colleagues, for example,  Turkmenistan. This is one thing. And second, we have had a whole set of arrangements on this issue. Not all of them withstood the test of time, and as President, I will not support all of them, but we can certainly discuss this issue. It is not closed yet. I just want to note though that this must be mutually beneficial. It must fit into Russia’s current strategy for developing gas sector and gas exports.

In terms of aircraft manufacturing industry, everything here is clear and right. I think that on our own, we are unlikely to have many prospects for developing this cluster. We are ready to renew our cooperation in regard to models and machines I spoke about yesterday and which our colleagues mentioned, including the An-124, An-140, and a number of others. We simply need to move forward.

I have already spoken about various exchange operations or involvement in gas transportation.

Speaking about gas cooperation in general, I do not think that this is the right place to look into these matters. Our companies – namely, Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine – will certainly continue their discussions. Naturally, there will also be discussions between the energy ministries. But at the same time, I do not think that I will reveal anything new, since you were talking about so-called bypass routes, South Stream and Nord Stream. But, colleagues, these decisions have been made, and this is not a matter of sympathy or antipathy on our part, or any other political issues. These decisions have been made, and they are being implemented, both in the north and in the south. Therefore, there’s certainty, though someone here spoke about uncertainty; still, this does not mean that alternatives are no longer possible. Neither I nor my colleagues have ever gotten hung up on anything or stated that if we have a pipeline in one place, it is impossible to discuss any other alternative. Indeed, they certainly can be discussed. The world is changing, and the power industry is changing too. We now have shale gas, LNG [liquefied natural gas] is developing at full force, and facilities are being built. Five years ago, nobody was really even thinking about it, but now, people are. And the energy mix will change as well. So let’s continue discussing these issues.

In general, I feel that today, we have done some very positive work in terms of discussing specific issues, and even more importantly, we have demonstrated that we are together once again and that we are again ready to do real business instead of producing empty talk on this issue and calling for mutual investments. I am very happy. Let’s continue this trend.

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