Ukraine Sacks Ministers Involved In Gas Deal

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday passed a resolution dismissing two top ministers linked to the new gas deal with Russia.

Justice Minister Serhiy Holovaty

The resolution, which won 246 votes in the 450-seat chamber, demands the sacking of Justice Minister Serhiy Holovaty, and Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov. A no-confidence vote was also passed on Oleksiy Ivchenko, head of the country's gas giant Naftogaz Ukrainy, reported Interfax-Ukraine, the nation's news agency.

In a bid to end the disputes over the Russian gas price, Ukraine and Russia clinched a new deal on gas supplies on Jan. 4.

The parliament has proposed exercising legal action against the new deal and an investigation into the behavior of those officials involved in it.

It also required the national audit office to examine the financial condition of Naftogaz in the 2004-2005 period and in early 2006.

Under the new deal, Kiev is to pay 95 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in 2006 compared with the previous 50 U.S. dollars. The purchases will be conducted through the RosUkr Energo trading company.

The new gas deal led to the Ukrainian parliament's vote for a complete dismissal of Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov's cabinet last Tuesday, which was condemned by Holovaty as being illegal.

Source: Xinhua