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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Joint Venture Yes, Joint Vulture No

A joint venture agreement between NAK Naftogaz and RosUkrEnergo AG will be finalized once RosUkrEnergo comes up with a presentation, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yekhanurov said recently. In a follow-up to the 95/230 deal ending the dispute between Ukraine and Russia, the agreement was supposed to be signed earlier but was postponed for further negotiations. Critics of the deal have openly questioned RosUkrEnergo's credentials, alleging connections to Kremlin associates and a man wanted by the FBI.

Washington has been studying the situation closely and State Department officials have already expressed their concerns. Sensing the buildup, Kyiv has gone out of its way to make sure the joint venture does not look like a "joint vulture." The government is trying to keep its hands clean and its country well supplied through a winter of historically cold temperatures and a torrid parliamentary campaign culminating Mar 26.

Ukraine's Antitrust Comittee gave the green light. The joint venture will be called UkrGazEnergo.

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