Tigipko criticizes Yanukovych on Russian base extension

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April 24, 2010, 10:17 a.m. |

Sergiy Tigipko, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister

WASHINGTON - A senior official in Ukraine's ruling coalition is criticizing the country's president for a deal to extend the stay of Russia's Black Sea Fleet at a Ukrainian ports. Sergei Tigipko, prime minister for economic issues, said in an interview with The Associated Press that while the deal might make economic sense, President Viktor Yanukovych should have been more open about the negotiations.

"The procedure of debating the agreement and completing it behind closed doors is not what the Ukrainian people want," Tigipko said through an interpreter.

Tigipko joined the coalition after finishing third during the first round of the presidential contest in January. Yanukovych signed the deal Wednesday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to extend the Russian lease at the port of Sevastopol after the existing lease expires in 2017. Yanukovych's predecessor, Viktor Yuschenko, had threatened to end Russia's lease on the strategically important base.

The deal signals that Yanukovych is looking for closer co-operation with Russia. But Tigipko said that good relations with Russia will not cause a turning away from the West. He said that European integration remained the country's number one foreign policy priority.

He praised the base deal on economic terms. Tigipko said that under the agreement, Ukraine will receive large discounts on gas shipments in return for extending the lease, which will ease the country's budget woes.

"From the economic point of view, the latest agreement on the base is a good one," he said.

Ukraine has been hit by the global downturn harder than many other European countries. The country was granted a $16.4 billion bailout loan by the IMF last year. In October, the fund halted the fourth and final portion of the loan, worth $3.8 billion, demanding that the country's leadership resolve its budget crisis. Ukraine negotiated the payout of $2 billion in December, but $1.8 billion remains frozen.

Tigipko was in Washington attending meetings of the IMF and World Bank. He was expected to meet with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn Monday.

Tigipko said that he believe his country could complete a new agreement with the IMF by June.
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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 10:28 a.m.    

The deal is not a bad one, but could have been better.

It is far better that the crock of crap Tymo struck with Putin given the current econom of Ukraine.

It was always going to be the only trade off to get out of the crippling agreement Tymo struck.

I have to wonder, had she won, how she would have sorted the economy on the back of her original deal.

The problem is, now she is in opposition, all she does is make accusations. You never hear an alternative to anything, only criticism.

I don't want to hear moaning and sour grapes, I want to hear constructive opposition with alternative solutions. They must have had solutions as they got Ukraine into its situation now, so must have had a plan to get it out again.

They can't have forgotten those plans, they were still in power less than 3 months ago.

What were they?

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 11:50 a.m.    

The solution was: force the population to speak Ukrainian, then out of an act of god everything would be ok.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 12:07 p.m.    

The solution was: Ukraine so poor, even poorest in Europe, after Moldavia ... and if ukrainian people want such a way of life then take the Russia as your future partner. Good luck Ukrainians with your crazy Russian master.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 1:44 p.m.    

Ukraine isn't poor, Ukrainians however are.

Poor countries aren't capable of launching rockets into space, sending their military to Iraq, hosting the 3rd largest sports event in the world.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 1:06 a.m.    

Maybe co-host the Euro 2012, if all goes well!

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:51 p.m.    

When russian troops invaded West Ukraine in 1939, they stole anything of material consequence, including toilets and sent them to russia, where they were seen for the first time by russian peasants.

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Anonymous April 26, 2010, 9:47 p.m.    

Yes and when the Red Army officers wives stole the clothes out of the Polish women's wardrobes they walked about in the night dresses thinking it was evening wear. How funny.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 4:25 a.m.    

Its all on credit, Ukraine has been poor, since the west took it over, like all western governments are bank crupt,,, but only on paper, so the state can force the masses to work as slaves,,, &quot;sorry the state is broke&quot; then they build Eu missile system and go to war against muslims with oil and gas, at a cost of $ 10 trillion...

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:08 p.m.    

Ukraine has always been poor and probably always will be. No where else in Europe do you find such a large percentage of people not having plumbing. The Galicia region especially has been the most backward area in all of Europe outside of Moldova. It seems the people living there do not have any money or the technological know-how...strange.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 3:21 a.m.    

Could have a lot to do with the fact that the regions is mountainous. I found central Ukraine to be in worst state then Galicia. Galicia has at least tourism and potential for manufacturing industries servicing European neighbors. Central Ukraine has just agriculture.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 3:29 a.m.    

Galicia is not Ukraine or Slavic, it is Hungarian/Romanian. Was not even occupied by the so called Cossacks. Give it back to Hungary

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 5:29 a.m.    

Most Hungarians in Ukraine are not interested to join Hungary...

Apart from maintaining cultural ties, they prefer the pro russian Ukraine...

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:56 p.m.    

The solution was for Ukraine to have had kept its nuclear weapons under the control of a strong leader.

I would guarantee the level of Russian interference would drop significantly.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 5:25 a.m.    

Julia had no alternative no solutions even when she was in power

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 12:48 p.m.    

The IMF should place Serhiy Tigipko under heavy pressure at the meetings this week in Washington, in regard to what the Ukrainian government intends to do with the savings from the Russian gas discount. Tigipko disturbingly said that because of the new deal, the planned rise in the gas price can now be cancelled.

Without outside pressure, the Yanukovich government will just squander the billions on continuation of the populist artificially low gas prices, give it away to their oligarch-controlled industries, and fill its own pockets.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 9:28 p.m.    

He &quot;disturbingly said...&quot;. And, pray, how is this &quot;disturbing&quot;?

There is nothing &quot;disturbing&quot; in the decision on prices of gas. After all, no other developed country will hit their industry with exra costs while trying to ramp up production, and get out of the recession. Higher prices mean higher cost of doing business, less employment, lower production. And with already shaky employment situation, the last thing those who are still employed and support their family members with their salary need is higher prices for something they cannot avoid consuming.

So, get real. Lower prices are a gift from heaven, and take it with gratitude and humility. By being able to cut the budget through the lower price, Ukraine is qualified for IMF funds, and IMF will have to open its purse. And Ukraine can actually use that money to really macro-stabilize its economy, instead of using IMF funds to survive.

What is unpardonable from any politician, like this one, is speaking from the two corners of his mouth. With one, he is &quot;criticizing Yanukovic on base extension..&quot;, but with the other, he is &quot;..praising the base deal on economic terms&quot;. What on earth is he all about? He wants his cake and eat it too. He wants to be part of the ruling coalition, and garner power, influence and the advantages of being in the inner circle. Yet, he is playing footsie with the opposition, kind of &quot;wink-wink&quot;, I am really with you.

These are the kind of politicians nobody respects. He does not seem to be fully committed to the coalition, and pulling his weight. Now that the coalition is rulling, there cannot be excuses. Either you do the job, or do not occupy a chair. If he, for whatever reason cannot commit to the goals and work of his coalition team, that he needs to get out. At least, then he could commit himself to the work of the opposition.

The problem is, people fall for such characters. He is serenely sitting in a garden, reading a book. What a nice PR prop, carefully arranged by his stage managers.

Now this may still work in the developing world.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:04 p.m.    

&quot;Squander the billions on continuation of the populist artificially low gas prices?&quot; I'd be willing to bet that perspective is coming from Toronto, not Cherkasy.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 3:15 a.m.    

Most likely the reduction on gas prices will; help Ukrainian business recover from the global down turn and also reduce pressure on the economy. local administration and the people of Ukraine overall. The pressure to pass on the high cost of gas will not be so great. Hopefully it will allow Ukraine to spend more money on infrastructure renewal to help conserve and reduce gas consumption.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:14 p.m.    

An American CIA Stooge. A sleeper waiting for next election

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:15 p.m.    

Tigipko better watch himself, biting the hand that feeds him..He may be drummed out of Regions before you know it.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:20 p.m.    

He was probably placed there in that position so he can be watched. I don't trust him. A clue for Yanukovich: Send some of your people to spy on him to see what he does next.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 4:20 a.m.    

Tipgko is not biting the hands that feed him.

America and Israel feeds Tigipko..

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 9:43 p.m.    

I do not discuss whether it is right or not to extend the lease in exchange of a big discount in the gas price.

My only point is that I never heard of any Country in the European Union that has Russian military forces in its territory. I am now interested in understanding what is the roadmap to &quot;the European integration&quot; of Ukraine. I am sure that the President, Tigipko and all the majority has one since it is still the top foreign policy priority for the government.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 3:11 a.m.    

How many have US military basis in them? The RBSG base has been historically located in Crimea. There is no justification or merit ion having it removed right now. As long as the new lease does not have provision for further extension and Russia is required to meet the environmental clean up costs at the conclusion of the current lease then I see no issue was its renewal.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 4:18 a.m.    

U r right..

There is only one Russian military base in Europe, and at least 32 american.. wich threatens the balance of peace in the region..

Let us work on creating more Russian bases in Europe to re establsh balance and stop American dictatorship in Europe and around the globe,...

Smart point you had, keep it up, let them comng...

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Anonymous April 26, 2010, 9:44 p.m.    

You've forgotten about those in Belarus &amp; Moldova.

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Gene Nelson April 25, 2010, 8:09 p.m.    

Tigipko said...&quot;The procedure of debating the agreement and completing it behind closed doors is not what the Ukrainian people want,&quot;

Yes, that is true, but this really does not sound like much of a criticisms. My tendency is to believe this was as gentle as he could have been with his comments so he could gain politically.

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Anonymous April 26, 2010, 10:42 a.m.    

you don't have to blow your horn every time you want to correct or criticize others. this is called diplomacy and tact. ukrainians haven't learned that yet.

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Anonymous May 24, 2010, 12:03 a.m.    

Nope. Gene is right when he stated &quot;so he could gain politically.&quot;. Tigipko is another pawn and they want to divide UKRAINIANS when the next election comes. A vote for Tigipko is the same as a votee for yanukovych.

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