Russo-Ukrainian Energy Consortium to Be Based in Kiev

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that the Russo-Ukrainian energy consortium will be registered "as a Ukrainian legal entity with its headquarters in Kiev." According to him, this structure's charter will be registered in the near future. The consortium will be involved in the "development of the gas transportation system and the pumping of Russian (and not only Russian) gas to western Europe." When answering journalists' questions in Kiev, Putin said that the next meeting of the Russo-Ukrainian consortium's management would take place in the coming days.

While speaking about the successful start of work on the Russo-Ukrainian energy consortium, Vladimir Putin stressed that political blathering and other background noise had died down as soon as practical work had begun.

Putin also pointed out that Russia was cooperating in the gas sphere with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The head of state mentioned that Russia had opened a joint enterprise with the latter.

The president believes that all the partners need to pool their efforts so that they can enter the European markets together. According to Putin, this move could make "a considerable contribution to the development of the relations between a series of CIS countries and western Europe." In his turn, President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma expressed his opinion that a third country had to be included in the consortium before it started to operate. He pointed to Germany as the preferred nation in this role and said that work was already underway to achieve this aim. According to Kuchma, "the skeleton of this system already exists" and meets the interests of the Ukrainian side. At the same time, the Ukrainian leader urged everyone to think "about tomorrow, above all about the complete technical re-equipping" of the gas transportation system.

According to him, the sides will have to bear "huge losses" and spend "billions" to replace obsolete equipment. However, "without this there is no future," Kuchma said.

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