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Focus on Ukraine, June 9-15, 2008

June 16, 2008

The Democratic Initiatives Foundation follows political events in Ukraine with the aim of monitoring the pre-election promises of the country’s leading political forces that won seats in the parliament as a result of the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada on September 30, 2007. The monitoring is conducted within the framework of the project “Where are our political leaders taking us?”

June 9

Minister of Economy Bohdan Danylyshyn stated that the Cabinet of Ministers forecasts that the rate of inflation will see a considerable decline.
The minister forecast that the rate of inflation in 2008 will not exceed last year’s level of 16.6%. He also said that such positive indicators were only possible through cooperation between the Cabinet and the National Bank of Ukraine.

Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk told journalists in Athens during the summit of member countries of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization that there are currently no legal grounds for talk about the break-up of the coalition.
Yatsenyuk explained that two deputies leaving the coalition can only have an impact on voting results. He reminded that until at least one of the factions of the coalition approves a decision about leaving it the coalition is considered viable.

June 10

NATO Secretary General Jaap do Hoop Scheffer and the delegation of the Alliance will meet with Ukrainian government officials on June 16-17.
President Viktor Yushchenko, Premier Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovycyh invited them to pay an official visit to Ukraine. It is planned that the sides will agree on cooperation. Ukraine-NATO commissions will hold meetings especially on this occasion. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine says this meeting is critical for Ukraine’s joining the NATO Membership Action Plan.

June 11

President Viktor Yushchenko appointed Kostyantyn Hryshchenko Ambassador of Ukraine to Russia by his decree on June 10.
On that day the new ambassador of Ukraine to Russia told journalists at a press conference the position he will take in his new post. He said that Ukraine will become a member of NATO and will join the Membership Action Plan.
Hryshchenko stressed that he personally intends to affirm Ukraine’s position that it will never target its actions against Russia.

A group of doctors from Ukraine, Switzerland, France and Japan that treated President Viktor Yushchenko officially confirmed that he was poisoned with dioxin.

Doctors confirm that 90% of this dangerous substance has been removed from Yushchenko’s body. Doctors refuted the statement by David Zhvaniya, deputy of the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense party, that the results of the medical tests were falsified by the previous staff of the president. Doctors described Zhvaniya’s statement as pure speculation.

June 12

Minister of Defense Yuriy Yekhanurov traveled to Brussels to hold talks on Ukraine’s participation in joint operations with NATO and military cooperation with the alliance concerning reform of Ukraine’s armed forces in the future.
Yekhanurov is scheduled to meet with Secretary of the EU Council Javier Solana and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and attend a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission to discussion the execution of decisions made at the summit in Bucharest and promoting official Kyiv’s joining the Membership Action Plan.

NATO will not set up military bases in Ukraine or intervene in bilateral disputes, particularly as this pertains to the stationing of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer affirmed this prior to his meeting with the Ukrainian minister. Scheffer plans to visit Ukraine next week.

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko visited Zaporizhzhia today, where she named at a meeting with oblast leaders the “pros and cons” of the work being done in the region.

Among the pros was the highest rate of production volumes among all regions in Ukraine. The premier informed the leaders of the oblast that the 2008 National Budget will receive an addition UAH 30 billion, the lion’s share of which will be allocated to the regions.

June 13

Member of the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions Mykhailo Chechetov stated that his party will not support the candidacy of Andriy Kozhemyakin (YTB faction) as the chairman of the State Property Fund of Ukraine and insists that a report be submitted by Valentyna Semenyuk-Samsonenko prior to voting for her dismissal in the parliament.

Ukraine will not swap the NATO Membership Action Plan for Russian gas, said Deputy Head of the Presidential Secretariat Oleksandr Chaliy at a briefing in response to the question whether Ukraine will turn down MAP in exchange for cheaper Russian gas in December
Chaliy said the president declared a concrete strategic course that is fixed in legislation. He further added that Ukraine has an asymmetric response to an increase in the price of Russian gas to market prices as of January 1, 2009. He noted that the transition to market conditions will not only apply to gas prices, but also to the transit, storage and transportation of gas.


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