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Ukraine's fuel and energy minister will focus on the complicated issue of natural gas supplies during a visit to Russia on August 22
Ukraine's fuel and energy minister will focus on the complicated issue of natural gas supplies during a visit to Russia on August 22. Yuriy Boiko made his first visit to Russia as the fuel and energy minister August 9. In mid-August, Ukraine's Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych instructed him to draft proposals on stable natural gas supplies to Ukraine and acceptable gas prices for both countries until late 2006 and for 2007. "On August 22, Yuriy Boiko will arrive in Russia on a one-day working visit," the ministry's press office said. "He is scheduled to meet with Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller." But speaking before his visit, Boiko ruled out the possibility of transferring the management of Ukraine's gas transportation system to Russia, an idea that some in Russia have floated, particularly after a pricing spat in the winter that led to Gazprom temporarily cutting supplies to Kiev. "A shortfall of funds is the only major problem for the Ukrainian gas transportation system," Boiko said. "There are no other problems: the system is working at full capacity and employs highly qualified personnel. We can quite manage the system ourselves." Boiko said the lease, concession or the transfer of the Ukrainian gas transportation system to Russia for management were unrealistic options because the issue was over-politicized. Boiko said Russia's economic gain from the potential operation of this system, which Ukraine says is worth $20-50 billion and annually needs $500 million for modernization purposes, was incomparable with the inevitable wave of political anger that would follow and could affect business.
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