13:48 05.01.2010

Tigipko calling for depoliticization of relations between Ukraine and Russia in energy sphere

Presidential candidate of Ukraine Sergiy Tigipko has called for the depoliticization of relations between Ukraine and Russia in the energy sphere, the press service of the candidate reported on Tuesday.

"Relations with Russia in the energy sphere must be fully depoliticized...Gas and oil wars can be avoided only via a full transfer to market relations," Tigipko said, commenting on the conflict between Moscow and Minsk that occurred over oil deliveries to Belarus.

Belarus demanded a decrease in duties on Russian fuel sent to local oil refinery plants for processing, threatening to block oil transit to the EU and stop deliveries of electricity to Kaliningrad region if this were not done. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said that if this problem is not solved, the country would withdraw from the Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan, according to the press service.

"The energy war between Moscow and Minsk proves again that this sphere in the post-Soviet space must be transferred to market relations... If the internal energy market works inefficiently, housing and public utilities are not reformed, income is used to fill budget holes, then the government forces itself to seek reduced prices from Moscow in exchange for political concessions. As a result, this results in too high a price for the [country's] economy and for its sovereignty," Tigipko said.

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