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Ukrainian opposition politician wants future president to continue gas talks with Russia

April 04/ 08:12

Kiev. The new leadership of Ukraine should continue contacts with Russia to consolidate the preliminary agreements on direct gas supplies reached in Moscow on March 22. This was stated by the Chairman of the Political Council of the party "opposition platform - for life" Viktor Medvedchuk.

Yuri Boyko, a presidential candidate and the founder of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, and chairman of the party’s Political Council Viktor Medvedchuk, travelled to Moscow on March 22, about a week before the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election. They held talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, focusing on Ukraine’s cooperation with Russia in the gas sector. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, who was attending the meeting, said that Gazprom was ready to start negotiations on direct supplies of gas for Ukrainian consumers.

"When we did this, we proceeded from the desire to improve the living standards and the income level of our population who cannot even tolerate the tariff genocide, which is directly linked with the gas price because [natural] gas is an integral part of heating and hot water supply and many other things," Medvedchuk said in a live interview with 112 Ukraine TV Channel.

Medvedchuk also cited the country’s statistical data, which showed that the households’ utility bill arrears grew from 62.4 billion hryvnia to 69.4 billion hryvnia in February or by 11%

"More than 30% of households already do not pay under these utility tariffs," the opposition politician stressed.

"That is why, our goal and task during our trip to Moscow consisted in cutting this burden through lowering the price and such a preliminary agreement has been reached and now it is for the future authorities to decide what to do on this issue," Medvedchuk said.

"If they do not do this, i.e. if they do not seek any agreement while preliminary accords have been reached, this means that by this they [the future Ukrainian authorities] will demonstrate their attitude to people, to the electors who supported them at the elections," Medvedchuk said.

Ukrainian voters will soon be able to give their assessment of these actions, he stressed, informs TASS.

"Parliamentary elections will be held in six months. If they [the electors] do not give an objective assessment now and are mistaken in their choice now, at the presidential elections, they will make this assessment in October 2019. Fortunately, our citizens, electors have such a possibility," Medvedchuk stressed.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko said later that a criminal investigation would be opened into Boiko and Medvedchuk over illegal border crossing, while Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov pointed to the need to conduct a probe in that regard. At the same time, Ukrainian State Border Service Spokesman Oleg Slobodyan said the Service did not have any reason to prevent Boiko and Medvedchuk from crossing the border.

On April 3, the Ukrainian government banned unscheduled flights to Russia in the wake of a visit to Moscow by Boiko and Medvedchuk. The move was initiated by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

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