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15 Aug, 2014 12:36

'Buy firewood & coal': MP warns Ukrainians after US, EU get access to national gas pipes

'Buy firewood & coal': MP warns Ukrainians after US, EU get access to national gas pipes

The decision by the Ukrainian parliament to allow companies from the US and EU to co-manage the country’s gas pipelines could lead to the country being left with no gas supplies in the coming winter, an MP has warned in an emotional online address.

Nikolay Rudkovsky, an independent MP in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, believes the law allowing 49 percent of Ukraine’s national gas transportation system (GTS) to be managed by foreign companies is a big mistake.

People, my advice to you is: buy firewood and coal! After the Law on reforming the management system of the united gas transportation system of Ukraine (#4116) was passed today, our country has been left with almost no chances of staying with gas,” Rudkovsky said on Facebook, following the Rada session.

Don’t the MPs understand that we are now guaranteed to have a winter with no heating?” he asked.

Image from facebook.com

The bill, proposed by PM Arseny Yatsenyuk, has raised much controversy among Ukrainian MPs, who rejected it several times before the final approval on Thursday. One of the rejections, on July 24, is believed to have prompted Yatsenyuk’s resignation move, which was eventually dismissed by the Rada.

Rudkovsky might have voiced the fears of quite a number of the bill’s opponents when he tried to speak out against passing of the bill on Thursday, but was silenced by the Rada Chairman Aleksandr Turchinov.

We don’t get a single cubic meter of gas from Russia now. This law gives away Ukrainian gas transportation system to the US,” Rudkovsky had time to say, before his microphone was switched off, according to ITAR-TASS.

Turchinov accused the MP of lobbying for Russian interests.

Rudkovsky has asked Ukrainians to write petitions to the government, calling for the bill’s cancelation.

We can’t allow dozens of other Alchevsks to happen.”

Around 1,500 people were left without gas in the town of Alchevsk, Lugansk Region of eastern Ukraine, earlier in August due to a malfunctioning gas pipe.

Rudkovsky’s post has inspired dozens of worried comments, with Ukrainians sharing stories of electricity and water shortages they are already encountering, as well as fears of more to come.

Earlier this month, Kiev announced turning off hot water throughout the city in an attempt to save gas for the winter months. The Ukrainian authorities have voiced concern over the country’s ability to ensure winter heating.

A session of the parliament in Kiev August 14, 2014. (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

Rudkovsky believes the government “failed” preparation for the winter.

There are other right ways of solving this problem, but the government does not hear me. I advised them to buy heating oil and transfer heating facilities to coal,” he said.

Meanwhile economic experts doubt Ukraine will actually be able to find the EU and US investors for its gas transportation system. Mikhail Korchemkin of East European Gas Analysis believes it’s the make such investments, as the future of the gas market in vague, Vedomosti reports. Energy Intelligence analysts argue the conflict in the east of Ukraine makes the project risky in general.