Yalta - Ukraine's second president (1994-2005) Leonid Kuchma believes that high prices on the Russian natural gas have given a tremendous impetus to the Ukrainian industry.
“I believe that the high gas prices have given a tremendous impetus
to our industry. We are gradually making our business stop consuming
free gas, and think of high technologies and modernization of our
enterprises,” he said on Saturday during the 9th Yalta Annual Meeting
organized by Yalta European Strategy (YES) in partnership with the
Victor Pinchuk Foundation.
According to him, each enterprise should have a modernization plan agreed with the government.
In turn, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov retorted: “On the one hand it
is true, but on the other hand it’s not so simple. Those extra $5
billion that we are paying could be spent on economic development and
Describing Russia’s policy towards Ukraine, the premier said: “On the
one hand, we hear the assurance that our relations should be based on
equality, good neighborliness, that we need to develop a lot of
integration projects, and we are all for it. We are firm supporters of
such policy. On the other hand, we have been stifled by the high price
of gas for two and a half years,” he added.
Kuchma retorted: “We need to stop going to Russia with a hat in our
hand. We have managed to survive for two years and not to die.”