Today the Parliament of Ukraine has founded a Temporary Investigation Parliamentary Commission to follow all the developments of current gas crisis. The Committee is going to examine the actions of Ukrainian officials in the sphere of gas supply and gas transit in 2008, and also will follow the negotiations with Russian Gazprom in 2009. The questions of signing the new gas supply and transit contracts – including financial issues, like gas price – will be under everyday control of the Commission.
222 MPs voted in favour of the Commission’s founding: 174 members of the Party of Regions (total size of faction – 175 MPs), 27 members of Communist party (total size – 27), and 19 members of the Block of the Speaker Lytvyn (total size – 19). The Block of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (BYT) and all the faction Our Ukraine – People Self-Defence (OU-PSD) didn’t support the idea of establishing the parliamentary control of gas problematic.
The new-elected Head of the Temporary Investigation Commission Inna Bogoslovska (member of the Party of Regions) promised to give the information on its findings to press every three days. “Our task is to speed up the signing of two contracts”, Inna Bogoslovska explained. On 6 February the preliminary report of the Commission will be presented in Parliament. The Commission (according to the size of every faction, it comprises 4 MPs from the Party of Regions, 3 MPs from the BYT, 2 MPs from the OU-PSD, 1 MP from BL and one Communist) is going to work during two months.
“It may well happen that, according to the results of this Commission’s activities, the question on the impeachment of President and the resignation of Government will be raised”, Inna Bogoslovska said. The leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych went further today, calling for the immediate Government resignation. The Communist party on its turn proposed to start the impeachment procedure as soon as possible.
P.S. I’m not going to comment a lot the today’s “blockade” of Russian gas transit to Europe as I still think that this “problem” is staged by some forces from Russia AND Ukraine. I would only add one point concerning the gas interests of Russia. It is important to pay attention to one interesting figure the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin mentioned during his meeting with foreign journalists last week. He told that Russia might pay for the Middle Asian gas “on average $375 per tcm” in 2009. As the European gas prices (in most of the EU countries) are linked to the oil prices, and the oil prices are still falling despite of all the Russian efforts and the statements of the OPEC countries, it is reasonable for Moscow just to win time for extra negotiations, in particular, with the successor of Turkmenbashi. But I have to say that Russia will have to re-start gas export to Europe in a very short time – there are simply not enough of gas storage facilities on the Russian territory. In a while Moscow will face only two choices: to transit the gas to Europe or to burn it (or to close some gas wells), losing money Gazprom needs too much today.