MOSCOW, August 17 (Itar-Tass) —— A senior Kremlin official has dismissed as groundless claims by Ukraine’s ex-president, Viktor Yushchenko, he played no role in concluding gas contracts with Russia. The reaction followed Yushchenko’s testimonies in a Kiev court, which questioned him in the capacity of a witness in the gas case opened against the former prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko.
“Yushchenko is deceiving his court,” the Kremlin official said. “When he was president, Yushchenko wished to gain personal political dividends and he invited Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to sign an agreement on the settlement of gas problems. He was told that the question was a competence of the governments of the two countries.”
“Also, in telephone conversations with Medvedev Yushchenko later said outright that he had full confidence in Yulia Timoshenko, that she had all the necessary powers and that he would support agreements to be concluded with Russia,” the Kremlin official said.
Speaking in court earlier on Wednesday Yushchenko said, in part, that in the process of drafting the contact Timoshenko had kept secret the price of Russian gas for 2009 from him and from the Ukrainian parliament. He also speculated that political motives were behind the signing of the gas contracts and the prime minister wished to keep the documents secret precisely for that reason.
Timoshenko is charged with exceeding her powers in signing contracts with Russia on terms that proved disadvantageous to Ukraine and with causing great harm to state interests.