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Volodymyr Ohryzko: Tymoshenko can help Yanukovych scrap gas contracts

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Sept. 12, 2011, 5:09 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine
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Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko has said that Ukraine's ex-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko could be of great help to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in breaking gas contracts with the Russian Federation through the courts if she admits that she signed the contracts under pressure, the press service of the TVi television channel reported. "The question is whether the contract was signed under mutual understanding and mutual benefit for both sides. I'm more than sure that Ukraine signed the contracts under pressure. If that's true, then the contract is not effective under international legislation. We need [to listen to] Yulia Tymosheko's opinion here. She could be the person to claim that it is true. The rest depends on equalizing the situation [the terms of gas contracts] in Ukraine with that in Germany, Poland, and Italy. If we see that the signed terms are obviously worse that those for other partners, then an unbiased judge would consider this as a signal that the situation was not that simple," the former minister said in an interview with TVi.

At the same time, Ohryzko added that in this case Tymoshenko's personal will to give testimony would be important, as "the myth about a rescued Europe and satisfied Moscow" could be destroyed.

Ohryzko said that the authorities and the opposition must join efforts while protecting the interests of the state.

"When it comes to state interests the opposition must give a helping hand," he said.

The former minister added that Ukraine should start fulfilling the obligations it undertook in a memorandum signed in Brussels in 2008.

"In 2008 in Brussels a very good agreement was signed between Ukraine and the European Union – the Memorandum of Understanding – which clearly stipulated what we have to do to bring the gas sphere into line with the EU, and how. Unfortunately, nothing was done from the winter of 2008 until the winter of 2009 and after that. Only now are we as a state starting to realize that we have to fulfill obligations that are very beneficial indeed," the former minister said.

"If we join the EU, in the sphere of standing up for our energy interests, this will be the only chance to escape from this gas burden," Ohryzko added.
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