Gas price hike to raise tension in Ukraine

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July 29, 2010, 3:54 p.m. |
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's trade unions warned Thursday that an abrupt price hike for natural gas will stoke social unrest and uncontrolled inflation. Increasing gas prices was a key demand of the International Monetary Fund in exchange for this week's approval of a US$15 billion loan over 2 1/2 years to help Ukraine with economic reforms.

Anatoliy Akimochkin of Ukraine's Trade Unions Confederation pledged to sue the government over the 50 percent price hike to be imposed on households from August.

"We will challenge the price hike in court because the government did not discussed it with us, as laws require," he said.

Akimochkin said the trade unions will hold nationwide protests when the ongoing heat wave is over.

Ukraine's economy that was already weakened by the global economic meltdown and political instability has been further crippled after Russia has repeatedly raised gas prices following political disagreements.

The two nations' disputes halted European gas deliveries in early 2009, prompting the European Union to seek alternative supply routes that did not go through Ukraine. Russia also has pursued other export pipelines bypassing Ukraine.

Even Ukraine's leaders expressed dissatisfaction with the hike.

"I myself don't like this decision, but we had no choice," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said.
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Anonymous July 29, 2010, 6:37 p.m.    

what if all folks refuse to pay the utilities? simply ignore them until October 31 elections then. If these are to be tricked, ignore these fake "elections", just not to allow the villains to get legitimised. Simply as that.

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Anonymous July 29, 2010, 8:56 p.m.    

The majority folks have always paid, it is the regional suppliers that do not pay Naftogaz to the tune of hundereds of millions of UAH of unpaid gas.

The people who it will affect most are those who live in houses and have meters. Those who are unmetered (a vast number) and live in Zhek apartments will see their gas bill go up from 6UAH per person per month to 9 UAH per person per month regardless of how much gas they use.

So in effect the gas price for a vast number of people will go up from just under $1 per month to just over $1 per month regardless of gas useage.

Hardly a crippling rise is it?

Those who live in houses or who have meters are the ones who will noticably suffer.

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