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UKRAINIAN PREMIER WARNS INDUSTRIAL SECTOR OF POSSIBLE GAS CUTS. Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov on 26 January announced that the government will reduce gas supplies to industrial facilities if they ignore its order to reduce gas consumption, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "If they do not understand spoken language, we will use normal administrative methods. The government still controls the tap," Yekhanurov told journalists in Kyiv. Yekhanurov's warning came against the backdrop of repeated charges from Gazprom that Ukraine siphons off Russian transit gas bound for Europe. Yekhanurov also declared that Ukraine, which is currently consuming 427 million cubic meters of gas per day, will reduce consumption by 15 percent within the next 24 hours. And Naftohaz Ukrayiny head Oleksiy Ivchenko said on Channel 5 on 26 January that Ukraine in January will exceed the limit of Russian gas contracted for this month. Meanwhile, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said the same day that Ukraine has already consumed its entire January quota of Russian gas. JM
OUR UKRAINE'S COALITION OFFER RECEIVES COLD RECEPTION. Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz said during an online news conference hosted by the "Ukrayinska pravda" website (http://www.pravda.com.ua) on 25 January that it is inexpedient for his party to sign a coalition accord with the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc before the 26 March parliamentary elections. Moroz was commenting on Our Ukraine's recent offer to Orange Revolution supporters to strike such a deal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January 2006). Mykola Tomenko of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, which was also approached by Our Ukraine with the coalition proposal, said the document includes "inadmissible principles for forming a coalition of democratic forces." According to Tomenko, the text of the proposal devotes just 1 1/2 pages to "abstract democratic values" and as many as 10 pages to the distribution of government jobs among coalition participants after the elections. "The distribution of jobs two months before the elections is a gross violation of the principles of the expression of the people's will, as well as a return to the Kuchma-era practice of appointing government personnel, when jobs were distributed by an alliance of oligarchic groups and clans," the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc said in a statement. JM