Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is certain that she has come to an agreement with Vladimir Putin regarding the gradual rise of prices on fuel which Ukraine purchases from Russia. Putin described Tymoshenko a “popular politician” and said that he supported the idea of the gradual rise of prices on energy carriers. However, it is the countries of Central Asia that dictate the prices.
Putin said the truth as always. Yulia Tymoshenko is a popular politician indeed. Putin has always supported the gradual rise of prices on energy carriers. The countries of Central Asia insist on a considerable increase in prices. In other words, Yulia Tymoshenko has not been able to come to anything with her strict Russian counterpart.
If Putin wanted to help several branches of the Ukrainian economy survive he would offer his Ukrainian guest a different way out of the crisis: to purchase the Russian natural gas at reduced prices or give Ukraine a loan to purchase the Russian fuel.
There is absolutely no sense for Ukraine to purchase the natural gas from Turkmenistan if the price on its equals the price on the Russian gas. Russia can purchase this gas instead and use it for its own purposes. Moreover, the real price on the Turkmen gas remains a mystery. The head of Gazprom’s administration, Aleksei Miller attempted to unravel the mystery during his recent visit to Turkmenistan. However, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov did not wish to meet with the Russian official.
Russia ’s President Dmitry Medvedev will have to continue the talks with Turkmenistan, whereas Ukraine prefers to stay away from these negotiations.
Vladimir Putin did not put forward any new ideas for Ukraine. In other words, Tymoshenko had nothing to offer Putin. Her statements did not differ much from those of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko. The latter also stands for the gradual rise of prices on fuel. Yushchenko does not reject the need to hold the national referendum regarding Ukraine’s NATO membership. Like Tymoshenko, Yushchenko says that Ukraine needs to preserve Russia’s Black Sea Navy in the country before 2017.
However, this is not what Russia is expecting from its ally. Russia wants Ukraine to let its people make the right choice and reject the idea of NATO expansion. In addition, Russia needs to keep its Black Sea Navy in Ukraine after 2017. However, Kiev continues to remind Moscow of the opposite.
Therefore, Putin simply had to talk about Tymoshenko’s popularity and win more sympathy from Ukrainians saying that Russia would like to help Ukraine. All other problems of the Russian-Ukrainian dialogue remain unsolved. Ukraine needs to change its approach to the dialogue and try to understand that it is not a matter of competition between the two states, but a matter of contacts between two sovereign states. It seems, though, that Ukraine has a long way to go at this point.