Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is coming to Kyiv, and once again he’s got gas on his mind. Russia’s most powerful man will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Azarov, during the seventh session of the Ukrainian-Russian intergovernmental committee on economic cooperation on October 27, 2010, Kyiv Post reports.
Volodymyr Omelchenko, a gas analyst at the Kyiv-based think tank Razumkov Center, said there is a 50 percent chance that Putin and Azarov will announce some kind of a deal.
“The most realistic scenario is some kind of a joint venture to control Ukraine’s pipelines,” he said. Some kind of European entity would likely be involved to deflect criticism of a Russian takeover, he added.
But the current authorities in Kyiv are divided in their attitudes toward greater Russian involvement in Ukraine’s gas sector.
“If Azarov had his way, a merger deal would have already been signed,” Omelchenko said. “But there are also the industrialists like [billionaire Rinat] Akhmetov and others who don’t want the Kremlin monopolising pricing, and the gas-sector wing like [businessman Dmytro] Firtash and [Energy Ministry Yuriy] Boyko, who want to maintain control over sales and distribution,” Omelchenko said.