Belarus russia to upgrade its oil product pipelines in Belarus by 2012

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Russia to upgrade its oil product pipelines in Belarus by 2012

06.08.2009 12:01

MINSK, 6 August (BelTA) – Russia’s Zapadtransnefteproduct company intends to upgrade completely its oil product pipelines in Belarus by 2012, Belarusian Emergencies Minister Enver Bariev told reporters.

There are two Zapadtransnefteproduct-owned oil product pipelines Unecha-Ventspils and Unecha-Rovno running via Belarus.

As for fixing the defects of the Unecha-Ventspils oil product pipeline, Enver Bariev noted that the work is underway in line with the agreements. “We have managed to work out a flexible and mutually acceptable variant of fixing the defects which allows the pipeline owner to eliminate defects without violating the contracts with its partners,” Enver Bariev noted. He also said that the oil product pipeline is operating under minimum pressure. When the defects are eliminated, the pressure could be increased, he added.

The Belarusian Minister also reported that the director general of Zapadtransnefteproduct is expected to visit Belarus in the near future.

CSTO secretary general expects Belarus to sign rapid response force agreement soon

оригинальная статья06.08 // 13:39 // English

Belarus will sign soon the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)’s agreement on the establishment of a collective rapid response force, RIA Novosti reported with reference to CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha.

He noted that Minsk had approved the agreement before it had been signed by the leaders of five of the bloc’s seven member states in June.

“I think that Belarus’ failure to sign the accord is only a technical problem and it will be resolved in the near future,” the official was quoted as saying.

Commenting on last week’s informal CSTO summit in Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Bordyuzha said that Minsk had never called the expedience of the bloc’s collective rapid response force into question and “does not view the project as harmful.”

The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Russia and four Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, BelaPAN said.

The Collective Rapid Response Force (CRRF) is expected to be stationed in Russia and be under a single command. Personnel of Russia’s 98th Airborne Division and 31st Assault Landing Brigade may form the core of the Force.

The CRRF would be used for repelling “military aggression,” conducting operations to combat international terrorism and extremism, transnational organized crime and drug trafficking, dealing with the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters, and ensuring the CSTO’s efficient participation in the maintenance of international peace and security.

All CSTO member states except Belarus and Uzbekistan signed the agreement at a summit held in Moscow on June 14. Alyaksandr Lukashenka boycotted the meeting in protest against Russia’s decision to ban the import of nearly all dairy products from Belarus earlier that month.

Armenian economy drops by almost 16 percent

Thursday, August 6, 2009

YEREVAN – Daily News with wires

Despite tens of millions of dollars in foreign aid received earlier this year, the Armenian economy dropped 15.7 percent from January through May compared to the same period last year, according to the National Statistics Service of Armenia.

Armenia’s National Bank had predicted that the economy would dip at a 12 to 15 percent annual rate, the Tert news service reported Aug. 4. The National Bank adjusted its forecasts several times throughout the year as the country’s recession deepened.

Slow sales in construction and services are driving the downward trend, reported on its Web site. Armenia’s GDP now stands at 839 billion drams ($2.27 billion), a 15.7 percent drop from the same period in 2008.

Reshuffles in RA political field not over yet

06.08.2009 14:42 GMT+04:00 print versionsend to mail

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “We’re on the threshold of a new political season, as opposition started to conduct meetings in RA regions. The fact has to sober up the authorities. Armenia’s political establishment has to understand that it’s not a time to relax. Many problems are awaiting resolution as the moment,” RA Politologists Union Chairman Hamayak Hovhannesyan told a news conference.

Hamayak Hovhannesyan characterized RA’s political elite as a “random collection” composed “based on the needs of Armenia’s internal political life, rather than international context”.

Hovhannesyan emphasized that opposition’s approach to Armenia’s national issues should be more radical than that of RA authorities.

He expressed confidence that reshuffles in RA political field are not over yet. They will continue as the problem remains unresolved and opposition is no more radical in national issues than authorities are.

Turkish suspects charged with plans against Armenian, Alevi leaders

The judges accepted a third Ergenekon case indictment submitted by the case prosecutors, indicting 52 more people.

Thursday, 06 August 2009 10:23

World Bulletin / News Desk

The judges hearing the trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine gang charged with plotting to overthrow the government, on Wednesday accepted a third case indictment submitted by the case prosecutors, indicting 52 more people.

Suspects are charged with crimes that include plans to attack Turkey's Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II and a leader of the Alevi community, Anatolian said.

Prosecutors charge the ultra-nationalist network planned assassinations and bomb attacks to stir unrest to pave the way for a military intervention.

"The indictment, which is composed of 1,454 pages, contains lawsuits against 52 suspects, 37 of whom are still under arrest. The suspects were arrested between Jan. 10, 2009 and April 17, 2009. Four of those arrested suspects were later released and 11 of the suspects were not arrested. The introduction section contains a summary of the first phase of the Ergenekon investigation and the first indictment, along with information on the activities planned and realized by the organization, including its assassination plans and seized ammunition," Turkish media quoted of statement.

Among the suspects are retired generals, including the former chairman of the National Security Council, a labour leader, university rectors and the former head of the Higher Education Council, which regulates universities, Anatolian said.

Turkish intellectuals say the Ergenekon trial is an effort to eradicate shadowy forces that have undermined stability in the European Union candidate nation.

The first hearing in the latest indictment is scheduled for Sept. 7. The first trial began last year. Most of the defendants are in police custody.

Council of State case

Prosecutors conducting the Ergenekon investigation have established various links between the two cases. The most conspicuous ones are the close relationship Council of State shooter Alparslan Arslan had with some of the key suspects in the Ergenekon case.

Two of Ergenekon suspect, imcluding a leftist party leader Dogu Perincek protested being tried with Arslan.

The armed attack by Alparslan Arslan against the Council of State 2. Department was on 17 May 2006. Alparslan Arslan first claimed he staged the attack as a reaction to the rule on the "headscarf ban" by the Council of State. But, Ergenekon indictment says that the attack was performed by the instructions from Ergenekon terorist organization.

The prosecutors suspect that Muzaffer Tekin, a retired army captain believed to be one of the higher-up leaders of Ergenekon, incited Arslan to carry out the attack. Veli Kucuk, a retired general and another key suspect in the Ergenekon investigation, was also implicated in the top court shooting.

Dozens of documents, phone transcripts and photographs clearly indicate that Arslan and some of the Ergenekon suspects were frequently in contact with each other. When an arms cache inside a shanty house in Istanbul's Umraniye district was discovered in the summer of 2007 -- the discovery that would be the start of the Ergenekon probe -- the Council of State shooting was reinvestigated by prosecutors on the Ergenekon case.

Armenia acted as catalyst in CSTO development

06.08.2009 15:47 GMT+04:00 print versionsend to mail

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia proved itself a worthy CSTO chairman in 2008, CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said at Moscow-Yerevan video-bridge.

“Serious resolutions were passed and activities undertaken during Armenia’s chairmanship,” CSTO Secretary General said, citing first meeting of Foreign Ministers within UNO General Assembly framework, Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Helsinki and Proxy operation for information security provision.

“During its chairmanship, Armenia acted as catalyst in CSTO development,” Bordyuzha noted adding that significant documents on collective rapid reaction forces formation were drawn and signed during Armenia’s chairmanship.

U.S. Diplomat Visits Georgia

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Aug.'09 / 11:25


Daniel Fried, who is now the U.S. Department of State’s special envoy for Guantanamo detainees’ issues, is visiting Tbilisi holding talks with senior Georgian officials.

In his previous capacity of Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, Fried played one of key roles in the Bush administration in responding last August’s crisis when military hostilities erupted between Georgia and Russia.

Details about Fried’s visit to Tbilisi and about his mission remain sketchy so far.

He already met with Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration and Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze.

In a brief comment Fried told reporters he arrived in Georgia to meet his “friends.”

Separatist leaders prefer relationships with Russia

06.08.09 11:47

Regarding the anniversary of the August war, leaders of the separatist regions of Georgia have intensified their interviews with media. Eduard Kokoity, leader of separatist South Ossetia told Reuters, his people wants to unite with Russia, although Russia is not ready for this. Separatist leader of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh calls the Georgia` leadership aggressive and rules out any kind of talks with Tbilisi.

`The people of South Ossetia want and wish to be united with Russia, but Russia is not ready for this yet,` Eduard Kokoity said.

`Georgia`s present leadership is aggressive. They are the people who have their hands covered up to their elbows with the blood of Abkhazians and South Ossetians, and we have nothing to negotiate with them about, and we will not talk to them. How our relations will develop in the future depends on the situation in Georgia, which we will be following closely - who will come (to power), what kind of leaders, with what intentions?` Setgei Baghapsh said.

Georgians may be granted Abkhaz citizenship

06.08.09 11:50

Discord arises between the separatist leader of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh and his opposition due to the law, the Abkhaz parliament intends to approve. According to the draft bill ethnic Georgians having lived in Abkhazia until 2005 will be granted Abkhaz citizenship. A special commission headed by Konstantin Ozgan working on the issues has already been created.

Supporters of former vice president of the Abkhazian puppet regime Raul Khajinba say, after adopting the draft bill, there will be 50 thousand Georgians with Abkhaz passports that is much more than the number of ethnic Abkhazians living there.

Georgian political experts consider the fact as a step made by Sergei Bagapsh for receiving more votes at the forthcoming so-called presidential elections.

Number of crosses increases in Georgian villages populated by Azerbaijanis

06.08.09 15:17

Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug.6 / Trend News J.Babayeva /number of crosses increases in georgian villages populated by azerbaijanis

Serious anxiety occurred in the Georgian villages populated by Azerbaijanies due to increasing number of crosses.

The crosses dig in the each Georgian village populated by Azerbaijan remains in their places. In addition, at present they are digging crosses near the Muslim graveyards. Glowing crosses placed near the each village. The by-passers can consider these villages as Christian settlements, leader of the Qayrat National Movement of the Georgian Azerbaijanis, Alibala Asgarov told Trend News in a telephone conversation. 

Trend News information: Trend News revealed out that Georgian Patriarch's local agency placed crosses length 7-10 m in the Quchulu and Kapanakchi villages of the Kvemo-Kartli (Borchali) regions, which are mainly populated by Azerbaijanis.   

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II called on his colleagues to be careful with placing crosses in areas densely populated by Muslims, Head of the Inter-religious Relations Center under the Georgian Patriarch, Lela Jejelava told Trend News earlier.

Georgia has a tradition to place crosses everywhere. Local Eparchy did not want to offend Azerbaijanis inhabitants of the Bolnisi region when placing crosses. Even cross not only symbol of the Christianity, but also a symbol of faith and love," Jejelava said.

According to unofficial data, about 500,000 Azerbaijanis live in the Kvemo-Kartli (Borchali) region.

Heads of religious organizations were informed about this, but they don not take any step, Asgarov regrets." We are concerned on their silence. Such actions might lead to worst ends. Increase in number of crosses may cause a religious confrontation," Asgarov said.

Azerbaijanis appealed to relevant agencies on this incident." We are mystified. Azerbaijanis should take permission from dozen of agencies to build even a stabling. How could it occur when the governor is unaware of crosses? If he is unaware, then he cannot fulfill his duties.  If he is informed, then why does not he take any action?" Asgarov added.

OSCE chairman calls on sides not to destabilize situation in Georgia

06.08.09 14:27

Azerbaijan, Baku, August 6 / Trend News E. Ostapenko /osce chairman calls on sides not to destabilize situation in georgia

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, said on August 6 that she was concerned about tensions in the areas affected by the August 2008 conflict in Georgia and called on all sides to refrain from actions and statements that could destabilize

the situation further, OSCE official message said.

"Almost a year after the beginning of the conflict, we are facing a highly sensitive time," she said. "Wounds are still raw, and the region remains fragile and volatile. Lives were lost during the conflict and after, and people forced to flee their homes lack the support they need to be able

return to live in dignity," she said.

Military actions launched in the territory of unrecognized republic of South Ossetia on August 8, 2008. Georgian troops entered the capital of South Ossetia - Tskhinvali. Afterwards, Russian troops occupied the city and drove Georgian military men back to Georgia.

Bakoyannis emphasized that the OSCE remained involved in Georgia and hoped to ensure a strong presence for the Organization in the country to help strengthen security in the region.

The OSCE observers mission, operating in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict was terminated in June 2009. Russia agreed to extend their mandate under the condition that a separate monitoring group, independent from the one that will work in Georgia will be established in South Ossetia.

Tbilisi stood against it categorically. Tbilisi decided that Moscow is trying to achieve recognition of South Ossetia indirectly from the international community. Besides Russia, only Nicaragua recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The OSCE is committed to helping to create lasting peace and security for

 the benefit of all peoples," she said. Bakoyannis said she regretted that the OSCE Mission to Georgia had to close earlier this year after working to improve the region's stability since 1992. The Mission's mandate expired at the end of 2008, and the Greek Chairmanship suspended negotiations to seek consensus around a new mandate in May, following months of intensive talks. At the end of June, the mandate for an OSCE deployment of unarmed military monitoring officers to Georgia expired and the Mission was closed.

Bakoyannis regretted that the OSCE Mission to Georgia had to close earlier this year after working to improve the region's stability since 1992.

OSCE remains focused on finding a solution that would enable the OSCE to have a strong presence in Georgia, Bakoyannis said. She expressed hope that despite the difficulties so far, we will be able to find consensus on a format for such work.

Such a presence is needed now more than ever. We need more OSCE in the region, not less,"she said.

The OSCE was still working to improve security in the region - the Organization is co-chairing the Geneva Discussions along with the United Nations and the European Union.

"The Geneva Discussions are the only forum where all parties meet and discuss security and stability as well as humanitarian concerns," she said.

Thanks to these discussions, there has been progress on important humanitarian matters, such as delivery of gas. The OSCE is also promoting joint efforts to improve the water supply with a view to ensuring access to potable and irrigation water by all populations, chairman said. In addition, the OSCE is helping to facilitate meetings of a joint incident prevention and response mechanism, which enables regular contact between the sides for sharing information and discussing security concerns.

We are committed to continuing these efforts and achieving results," she said.

Russian military presence in territory of CSTO allies is not directed against other states

[12:34] 06.08.2009,  Kazakhstan Today

Russian military presence in the territory of CSTO allies is not directed against other states. The commentaries of Department of Information and Press of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia states in connection with location of the Russian military units in the territory of Kyrgyzstan, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports.

"The Russian military presence in the territory of our CSTO allies - Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - is dictated by an intention to maintain stability and security in the region. It has defensive character and is not directed at all against other states."

"It is completely in accordance with the arrangement reached one of these days in Cholpon-Ata about location in the territory of the Kyrgyzstan Republic of an additional Russian military contingent as a part of military unit for preparation of the Russian and Kyrgyz military men," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation informed.

As informed earlier, Uzbekistan has opposed location in Kyrgyzstan of an additional contingent of the Russian armed forces. The news agency Zhahon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan reported on August 3.

Kazakh Income plan of state budget executed by 109.2 %

[12:32] 06.08.2009,  Kazakhstan Today

The income plan of the state budget in the competence of Tax Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan has been executed by 109.2 % that has totaled 804.2 billion KZT whereas the plan was 736.2 billion KZT. Tax Committee informed at the selector meeting taken place on August 3, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports citing the press service of Tax Committee of Finance Ministry of Kazakhstan.

According to the press service, following the results of tax audits for I half of 2009, taxes, default interest and penal sanctions have been charged in the sum of 141.2 billion KZT (by 11.9 billion less than for I half of 2008). Total sum of charged taxes, default interests and penal sanctions has been 11.6 billion KZT (by 5.3 billion more than during the similar period of 2008). The coefficient has increased from 13.9 % up to 18.5 %.

Kazakhstan mulls oil export duty

Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 07:25 GMT  | last updated: Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 07:25 GMT

Kazakhstan's antitrust agency has offered the government to raise export duties for oil - currently set to zero - and oil products to increase supply to the domestic market, Interfax news agency reported today.

Kazakhstan, Central Asia's biggest oil producer, set the oil export duty to zero in January as global prices plunged, reported Reuters.

Increase of prices for petroleum products in Kazakhstan connected with decrease of manufacture

[14:48] 06.08.2009,  "Kazakhstan Today"

Increase of the prices for petroleum products in Kazakhstan is connected with decrease in manufacture of petroleum products in the country, increase in volumes of export and increase of the prices for Russian imported oil. The head of Information Department of the agency, Zhandos Nurmahanbetov, informed at the briefing, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports.

"The antimonopoly body carried out the analysis of the situation in the market of mineral oil. Increase of the prices for petroleum products is connected, first of all, with decrease in manufacture of petroleum products in the Republic by 9.5 %, increase of volumes of export of the main suppliers of mineral oil and increase of the price for imported Russian oil and mineral oil, which is higher than the world prices," Z. Nurmahambetov informed.

Max Petroleum hires Sun Drilling for projects In Kazakhstan


Kazakhstan-focused oil and gas company Max Petroleum (AIM: MXP) has secured a drilling rig for its major projects in Western Kazakhstan, sending its shares up 11%. The company said it reached a two-year agreement with Sun Drilling LLP, which also operates in Kazakhstan. Sun will provide Max Petroleum with a Z-J30 rig capable of drilling up to 3,500 meters. max petroleum hires sun drilling for projects in kazakhstan

The rig will start drilling Max Petroleum’s shallow and intermediate exploration prospects on Blocks A&E in Western Kazakhstan after drilling two developmental wells on the Zhana Makat Field, the company’s only discovery on Block E.

Max Petroleum’s Blocks A&E license covers more than 12,455 square kilometers and has an estimated combined resource potential of 4.5 billion barrels. The company is set to evaluate up to 24 exploration structures on the block through 2010, including 22 shallow and intermediate structures and two deep structures to be drilled on Block E.

The Zhana Makat Field is estimated to have 9.1 million barrels of proved and probable reserves.

A more comprehensive operational update and preliminary annual results for the period ended 31 March 2009 are due in the next few weeks.

Artificial deficit of petroleum products created in southern regions of Kazakhstan

[16:30] 06.08.2009,  Kazakhstan Today

Artificial deficit of petroleum products has been created in the southern regions of Kazakhstan. The head of Information Department of the antimonopoly agency, Zhandos Nurmahanbetov, informed at the briefing, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports.

"The situation in the petroleum products market is predictable, except for the South Kazakhstan, Almaty, and Zhambyl areas, where the main players of the market have created artificial deficit, which resulted in agiotage and, accordingly, possible facts of anticompetitive coordinated actions of some gas stations with the subjects occupying leading position in the market," Z. Nurmahambetov informed.

"The antimonopoly body along with the bodies of financial police will additionally investigate unfair realization of petroleum products ," he informed.

South Kyrgyz town quarantined over anthrax outbreak


BISHKEK, August 6 (RIA Novosti) - The town Aksy in southern Kyrgyzstan, along with the surrounding district, has been quarantined following an anthrax outbreak that has infected at least five people, the country's health ministry said.

The disease spread after meat from an infected cow that had been slaughtered without a veterinary inspection was sold to locals, the ministry's press service told RIA Novosti.

"According to data from the national center for dangerous infections, anthrax infection has been confirmed for five residents of the Aksy district following tests," the press service said. All of them are currently in a satisfactory condition.

Another 12 patients, who had come into contact with the infected people, are being examined and are receiving prophylactic treatment.

Anthrax affects both wild mammals and domestic cattle that ingest or inhale the bacterial spores while grazing. Humans can contract the disease if they are exposed to the blood or tissue of infected animals. It can be highly lethal, but in some forms responds well to antibiotic treatment.

Turkmenistan invites Uzbek president to visit country

06.08.09 17:02

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Aug.6 / Trend News H.Hasanov /turkmenistan invites uzbek president to visit country

Turkmen President Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov invited his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov to pay a visit to Turkmenistan at any time of convenience during a telephone conversation. 

Karimov accepted the invitation. The terms of the visit will be coordinated through diplomatic channels, the governmental said.

Turkmenistan initiated the conversation.

The large multinational energy project connects two neighboring countries. The Turkmenistan-China pipeline project, which will pass through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, close to completion, Berdimuhamedov said. With this regards, Karimov was invited to take part in the opening ceremony.

Under the project, design capacity of the new pipeline will be 40 billion cubic meters of gas and its opening is scheduled for early 2009. "Gas pipeline is a bright symbol of friendship and cooperation between the neighboring nations," Karimov said. Heads of States emphasized that the transnational project is intended to become an effective factor in the socio-economic development of project participant-countries.

Turkmen President congratulated Karimov with the forthcoming 18th anniversary of independence of Uzbekistan and wished Uzbek people happiness, prosperity and new significant achievements in realizing all plans and intentions of state development, the same source said.

Berdimuhammedov congratulated Karimov with the upcoming 18th anniversary of independence in Uzbekistan and expressed to the Uzbek people all happiness and well-being, the new bright success in the implementation of all ideas and plans for national development.

At present, the Turkmen-Uzbek intergovernmental relations are experiencing a qualitatively new stage in the broadening and deepening in good-neighborly relations, Karimov added.

The sides noted the importance of joint large-scale projects designed to not only utilize the existing, but also to create new opportunities to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.

Gas Transit 5.4% Down To 8.7 Billion Cubic Meters In July

(08:47, Thursday, August 6, 2009)

In July, total volume of natural gas transmitted through the territory of Ukraine decreased by 5.43% or 0.5 billion cubic meters to 8.7 billion cubic meters on the same period of 2008, reports a source in the Fuel and Energy Ministry.

In January-July, transit of gas decreased by 37.1% or 28.2 billion cubic meters to 47.8 billion cubic meters, compared with January-July 2008.

Gas transit reduction was caused by a decrease in consumption by the European countries, which is also connected with the economic crisis.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Ukraine transmitted 119.6 billion cubic meters of gas in 2008, up by 3.8% over 2007.

Naftogaz of Ukraine sets up daughter enterprise Naftogazmerezhi

6 August 2009 | 13:45

In order to fulfill the Cabinet's instruction "On Raising Efficiency in Managing State Property of Gas Distribution Networks", the NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine has completed setting up a daughter enterprise Naftogazmerezhi, the company press service informed.

Property of gas distribution networks (distribution gas pipelines, constructions on them, special transport facilities, as well as design estimates) that according to Ukraine's law is the state property and is not subject to privatization has been handed over to the designated enterprise.


Naftogaz CEO Vitaliy Hlushchenko has been appointed Head of the Naftogazmerezhi.


6 August 2009 | 11:54

Ukraine has no problems with WTO over 13% extra import duty

The expiration of the temporary 13% extra charge on the import duty that applies to refrigerators and cars on September 7, 2009, will eliminate all controversial issues between Ukraine and the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ukraine's Economy Minister Bohdan Danylyshyn said.

"We have no conflict with the WTO," he told Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.

Danylyshyn said there was no need for the government or the Verkhovna Rada to pass any additional resolutions to settle the controversial matters.

However, the economy minister warned against passing new laws extending the temporary 13% extra charge or introducing new restrictions on import.

As reported, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has decided to cancel a 13% extra duty on the import of a number of goods, apart from on cars and refrigerators.

The Constitutional Court later declared unconstitutional the delegation of such powers to the Cabinet of Ministers, however, the government and the State Customs Service said that the 13% temporary extra duty was only applied to the import of cars and refrigerators.

International financial organizations criticized the decision to limit imports, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) demanded that it be cancelled. The effect of the 13% extra import duty expires on September 7, and the government expressed hope that this would help Ukraine avoid sanctions from the WTO and its member states.

Yuschenko accepts appointment of Zurabov as Russian ambassador to Ukraine, says newspaper


Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko has finally accepted the appointment of Mikhail Zurabov as Russian ambassador to Ukraine and signed a respective agreement, the Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper reported on Thursday.

However, Zurabov will not immediately assume office, as the head of state won't receive credentials from him in the near future, the newspaper said.

"This could trigger a new scandal, taking into account that Kyiv's silence in response to the Russian request on the candidacy of Mikhail Zurabov has left the frames of diplomatic decency. The Kremlin even suggests that the head of the diplomatic mission will be sent to Ukraine after the presidential election," reads the statement.

"Meanwhile, it is far from a fact that after receiving agreement, Mikhail Zurabov will immediately leave for Kyiv. The history of the protracted discussion about his candidacy by the Ukrainian side, as well as a recent diplomatic row between Moscow and Kyiv that ended in the expulsion of a councilor at the Ukrainian embassy in Russia and a councilor at the Russian embassy in Ukraine, has angered the Kremlin. According to Kommersant, the administration of [Russian President] Dmitry Medvedev started seriously considering whether they should postpone the arrival of Mr. Zurabov in Ukraine and send him there after the presidential election, the first round of which will take place on January 17, 2010," reads the statement.

The Russian embassy in Kyiv told Interfax-Ukraine that the agreement to Zurabov's appointment had yet to be handed over to the embassy. The embassy confirmed that this ceremony could be held today, August 6.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry did not comment on this report

Ukraine harvests over 30 m tons of grain

6 August 2009 | 13:00

Ukraine has already harvested 30.5 million tons of grain according to rough data, UKRINFORM reported, referring to APK-Inform.

Grain and leguminous crops were harvested on 10.8 million hectares, or 83% of the planned area. The average grain yield in Ukraine is 28.1 centners per hectare.

In particular, farmers threshed nearly 18.7 million tons of wheat from six million hectares, which is 88% of the target, with the average yield being 31.1 centners per hectare.

They also threshed 10.7 million tons of barley from over 4.3 million hectares (84% of the target) and 503,000 tons of peas from 286,000 hectares (94% of the target).

Farmers harvested 425,000 tons of rye, with the average yield being 21 centners per hectare.

Ukraine also threshed over 1.7 million tons of rapeseed from 983,000 hectares, with the average yield being 17.8 centners per hectare.

Expert: Ukraine's economy reaches bottom, banking system to face shock ahead

Today, 13:31 | Interfax-Ukraine

The Ukrainian economy has reached the bottom and will stabilize in time, although the banking system is to face shocks in September and October due to a rise in toxic credits, according to the director of the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, Ihor Burakovsky.

"It's clear that at present the situation in the banking sector is very bad. We can expect that the problems will worsen... It's obvious that some banks will go bankrupt. The first decision on this has been made, but it was a hard one – concerning Ukrprombank. Unfortunately, we can say that other banks will share this fate," he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

He said that the increase in the number of bad credits is influenced by the state of the economy. He said that in 2010 the Ukrainian economy would grow by 3.9%.

Burakovsky said that some positive signs are seen in the metals sector of the country, while the situation with employment is worsening.

He said that the raising of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) allows Ukraine to mitigate the crisis, although the loans are not enough to settle all of the problems the country faces.

The expert does not rule out that some IMF's funds could be lost due to corruption.

He expressed hope that Ukraine would be able to receive a fourth tranche from the IMF this year, adding that talks with the IMF were becoming more complicated: the receiving of the third tranche under the standby program in July is the result of considerable efforts of the government and the prime minister.

"Each revision [of the IMF program] passes with greater problems. The political factor is growing at each stage," he said.

The institute director said that a threat of not receiving funds from the IMF forces the president, government and the NBU to cooperate.

The expert also said that the granting of funds from the IMF in 2010 would hinge on the results of the presidential election and the political situation.

Burakovsky said that the IMF does not demand that Ukraine revise it social standards, but insists on a change in its price formation system.

As for urgent issues that the authorities are facing, these include the expediency of a revision of monetary policy: preparations for a transfer to inflation targeting are needed. In addition, the reform of National JSC Naftogaz Ukrainy and the Ukrainian gas sector is required.

The president of the Ukrainian Association of International Economists, Anton Filipenko, said that the stand-by loan is not the most optimal form of credit cooperation with the IMF: the said program is swift financial first aid, while the fund has the capacity to issue credits for structural reforms, which Ukraine needs.

He said that the IMF's stand-by loan does not present a great threat to the country, as it is rather cheap. He also said that Ukrainian authorities should have a clearer program on emerging from the crisis to be able to pay off the debts in the future.

Liquidation Of Yevropeiskyi Bank Possible, Says NBU

(12:37, Thursday, August 6, 2009)

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has said the liquidation of the Kyiv-based Yevropeiskyi Bank, ranking among Ukrainian mid-sized commercial banks, is possible.

A representative of the NBU told this to Ukrainian News.

Yevropeiskyi Bank has been under the provisional administration of the NBU since May 15, 2009.

"It is not excluded that this decision can be endorsed," the representative said.

Having refused to comment on a possible date of a decision on liquidation of the bank, the representative said there is hope that the financial institution will be saved.

"Hope still exists that a potential investor will do something," the representative said.

No further details concerning the situation with Yevropeiskyi Bank followed from the representative of the central bank.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the non-government organization Union for Protection of Depositors also believes that the liquidation of Yevropeiskyi Bank is possible.

The National Bank took Yevropeiskyi Bank into provisional administration on May 15 and appointed Roman Kudrytskyi provisional administrator.

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