Putin says Russia ready to work with any government in Ukrai


Moscow is ready to cooperate with any Ukrainian government formed after the September 30 election results are officially validated, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

Ukraine’s High Administrative Court has blocked official confirmation of the results until it rules on a lawsuit filed by the Communist Party on alleged voting violations. The Central Election Commission had announced the results on Monday. “I hope that whatever government emerges in Ukraine, regardless of what political platform it bases its work, objective reality will encourage our partners to develop cooperation with Russia,” the president said during his annual televised question-and-answer session. “We want this and we will act accordingly,” Putin added.

Ukraine’s pro-Western former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko appears likely to regain the premiership, having received the endorsement of her “orange revolution” ally Viktor Yushchenko. Their two factions cumulatively gained a narrow majority in the election, with 228 of 450 seats. However, the Party of Regions, perceived as pro-Kremlin, gained 175 seats, more votes than any other party. Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, leader of the pro-presidential bloc Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense and a co-leader of Ukraine’s new “orange” coalition, said on Wednesday that members of his bloc would unanimously back Yulia Tymoshenko as premier and himself as parliamentary speaker. The two blocs initialed a deal to form a coalition late on Monday, after Ukraine’s Central Election Commission posted the results of the early parliamentary polls. Tymoshenko’s bloc collected 30.71% of votes, followed by Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense with 14.15%. The Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense bloc has dismissed the Communists’ lawsuit against the Central Election Committee, saying it will only serve to delay the forming of a new “orange coalition.”

President Putin pointed out that there are up to 17 million ethnic Russians in Ukraine and some four million Ukrainians, including temporary residents, in Russia. He said: “The social well-being of millions of Russians and Ukrainians depends directly on the relationship between our countries.” Speaking on energy supplies, the Russian leader said cooperation in the sphere should follow market rules. “Ukrainian economic subsidies have stood at $3-$5 billion at the expense of low energy prices annually for the past 15 years. Ukraine has never received and will never receive such support from any other country,” Putin said. However, he pledged to switch to market relations “mildly, calmly and in a friendly way, without harming our partners in Ukraine.” “Russia is acting carefully so as not to damage its relations with Yulia Tymoshenko, the head of government,” a spokesman for the Tymoshenko bloc said after Putin’s comment. “The Russian government understands that it will be senseless to have disagreements with the new Ukrainian government, and that common ground must be found in cooperation.”

The spokesman said Putin’s statement was not intended to show “that Russia will accept Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister.” “Russia is wary of harming relations in the sphere of natural gas transit to Europe,” and does not want to quarrel with a government led by Tymoshenko, who takes a firm line on gas deliveries, he said. Tymoshenko has already said Ukraine should review existing gas deals with Russia and that the sole supplier of Russian gas to the country, RosUkrEnergo, which is 50% owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom, is not needed. President Viktor Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko as premier in the fall of 2005 after only eight months in the post over alleged economic mismanagement. (rian.ru)

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