RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN DEBT SETTLEMENT IS A TWO-WAY STREET.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 9
The Russian company Gazprom’s vehement accusations and financial claims on Ukraine (see the Monitor, January 13). were put in their proper perspective yesterday by none other than Russia’s ambassador in Kyiv, Vladimir Fyodorov. The ambassador commented that “a number of Russian ministries, including the Defense Ministry, owe large sums of money to Ukrainian firms. A biased and embittered analysis of the issue of payments for Russian gas is not going to produce any positive results.” Pointing to the political implications of the row unleashed by Gazprom, Fyodorov remarked that “politicizing the issue plays into the hands of those who do not favor the ratification of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate treaty” (Infobank, Eastern Economist Daily (Kyiv), January 13 and 14). Ukraine has ratified the treaty but it faces last-ditch resistance, spearheaded by presidential aspirant Yuri Luzhkov, in Russia’s Federation Council (see the Monitor, January 12).
As if to bear out Fyodorov’s comment about reciprocal debts, the Ukrainian Industry Ministry yesterday went on record for refusing to hand over the missile cruiser Moskva to Russia until the latter pays for the ship’s overhaul. The Moskva is slated to become the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Ukraine. The Ukrainian naval shipyard at Mikolayiv has almost completed the repairs, and Moscow wants the cruiser released before the job is paid for. According to the Ukrainian Industry Ministry’s announcement, defense plants under its jurisdiction are owed more than US$ 100 million by Russian state firms (Itar-Tass, January 13). –VS
MARCHUK ACQUIRES NEW, LOSES OLD SUPPORTERS.