Ukraine’s Tymoshenko, former Naftogaz head questioned by prosecutors

Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Oleg Dubina, the former head of Ukraine’s state-run gas company Naftogaz were jointly questioned on Wednesday as part of a criminal investigation related to the signing of a gas contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom in 2009.

“A face-to-face interrogation with Dubina has begun. The fabrication of an ordered political case is under way,” the opposition leader wrote on her Twitter account.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office launched the criminal case last week against Tymoshenko, now the country’s opposition leader, and Dubina, on charges of abusing their authority while signing the gas deal with Russia, which the current Ukrainian authorities say was unfavorable for the country.

The government of President Viktor Yanukovich, Tymoshenko’s rival, has long urged Russia to review the existing gas pricing formula but talks have so far been unsuccessful. In 2010, Naftogaz and Gazprom signed an additional gas agreement with a discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Tymoshenko said she is being targeted by the pro-Russian Yanukovych to divert public attention from the possible failure of Ukraine’s associate EU entry bid. The former premier has been ordered not to leave the country over another criminal case into the misuse of government funds, initiated against her late last year.

Yanukovych has said Ukraine will pursue ties with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in a 3+1 format after Gazprom said a union entry would cut the country’s gas bill by $8 billion every year.

KIEV, April 20 (RIA Novosti) 

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