During a meeting with a team from the Accounting Chamber in Kyiv on Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged Ukrainians not to believe the populists who promise to bring down the price of natural gas, because this can only be done by going back to Russian gas supply contracts. “Listen today to the populists’ promises to bring the gas price down to half, a third, a quarter – some have even agreed to lower the price to one sixth. This can only be done by returning to the Russian gas cabal,” Poroshenko said.
He promised that he would not let Ukraine go back to Russia’s “gas cabal” under any circumstances.
“We have barely just made it out of this cabal, and now they are trying to go back to it again. I will not allow the country to be brought back into the so-called “Russian world” under any circumstances. I advise you to listen less to the sweet voices of the pseudo-protectors. Why? Because there is a lot of honey in them, but only a little truth, or perhaps none at all,” Poroshenko remarked.
The head of state also referred to the Ukrainian government’s promises to bring internal gas prices to the same level as that of imported gas, stating that the country was taking this step in order to pay off the government debt.
“It wouldn’t be amiss to mention that Ukraine took on the obligation to make internal gas prices match the price of imported gas when Groysman was still mayor of Vinnytsia. The relevant memorandum with the IMF was signed on October 31, 2008. At the time, the fund was headed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and it is easy to look on Wikipedia who was prime minister at the time. But whoever it was – such obligations are not of a personal, but of an international, legal nature. Although one group of people took on the obligations and the money, other people have to repay the money,” the President explained.
Talking about the Cabinet of Ministers’ decision to raise the price of natural gas for household use and municipal heating by 23.5% as of November 1, Poroshenko noted that, in addition to the socio-economic aspect, it also has a strategic geopolitical component: continuing collaboration with the IMF makes it possible not only to maintain macro-economic stability and a stable hryvnia exchange rate, but also to increase Ukraine’s energy independence from Moscow.
On October 19, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers decided to raise the price of natural gas for the population by 23.5%, putting the gas price at 8,555 hryvnia per thousand cubic meters.
The IMF later reported that it had reached an agreement with the Ukrainian government to start a new $3.9 billion economic support program, the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The new program is expected to last 14 months, and will replace the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program signed in 2015 which is ending ahead of schedule.