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You're reading: Taylor: Firtash touts Yushchenko as ‘close friend and confidante’
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Dmytro Firtash, the controversial co-owner of gas intermediary RosUkrEnergo, said he is closely acquainted with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and was his adviser during gas crises with Russia, according to a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv published on the WikiLeaks website on Dec.1.

The connection, which Yushchenko has always denied, was mentioned by Firtash in a conversation between then-U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine William Taylor and energy tycoon Firtash on Dec. 8, 2008, a meeting that took place at Firtash’s initiative. Yushchenko’s press secretary Iryna Vannykova could not be reached for comment.

In a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the ambassador, the Ukrainian oligarch acknowledged his connection with Yushchenko, describing himself as a “close friend and confidante” of the former Ukrainian president, who served one five-year term before being soundly defeated in his re-election bid in January. Firtash claimed to have “loyally served” as an unofficial adviser to Yushchenko during tense gas negotiations with Russia and political crises dating to the 2004 Orange Revolution.

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