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Ukrainian parliament’s lawmakers run busy schedule on Thursday

July 31, 2014, 19:29 UTC+3 KIEV
Lawmakers voted against PM Yatsenyuk's resignation, introduced Tax Code amendments, ratified agreement with the Netherlands and Australia and debated a bill on gas transportation system reform
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Ukrainian lawmakers and government members applaud after parliament didn't accept Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's (front, R) resignation during an emergency session of Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, 31 July 2014

Ukrainian lawmakers and government members applaud after parliament didn't accept Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's (front, R) resignation during an emergency session of Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, 31 July 2014

© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHEKO

KIEV, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian parliament had a busy schedule on Thursday as its lawmakers voted against the resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, introduced amendments to the Tax Code, ratified an agreement with the Netherlands and Australia and debated a bill on national gas transportation system reform.

 

Yatsenyuk’s resignation not backed

Last week, Yatsenyuk tendered resignation after the parliament had refused to pass the government bills following the breakup of the ruling coalition. However, the parliament rejected his letter of resignation on Monday.

With the necessary 226 votes needed for Yatsenyuk’s resignation, only 16 lawmakers from the Verkhovna Rada submitted their votes of no confidence on Thursday, while 109 voted against.

Following the voting at the parliament, Yatsenyuk took the floor saying only “Ukraine has never declared default and never will.”

 

Amendments to taxation legislation

The Ukrainian lawmakers also passed on Thursday amendments to the Tax Code with the changes aimed at beefing up the country’s budget with additional revenue of over $1.5 billion.

The deputies of the Verkhovna Rada also voted to allocate additional $758 million from the budget on the country’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine’s embattled southeastern regions.

 

Agreements on international mission at MH17 crash site ratified

The parliament also ratified agreements with the Netherlands and Australia on the international mission to secure investigation efforts at the site of the crashed Malaysian airliner in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.

The Dutch-led mission will be staffed with military personnel of the Netherlands and Australia comprising no more than 700 armed personnel. It will have freedom of movement across the Ukrainian territory to the sites of the investigation of the airliner crash. The mission’s personnel will be also carrying weapons and would have the right to use them in self-defense.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 airliner en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the area of combat operations between local militias and Ukrainian governmental troops in east Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Thursday, July 17. All 298 people aboard the plane, including 193 Dutch nationals, were killed in the jet’s crash.

 

Natural gas transportation reform

The last but not the least issue that the parliament discussed on Thursday was a bill on national gas transportation system reform.

The bill envisages establishing Ukraine’s unified gas transportation system operator from among companies founded or owned by the state or companies in which the state owns no less than 51% of corporate rights or resident corporate entities of EU countries, the United States or the European Energy Commission.

Yatsenyuk earlier said that Ukraine’s gas transportation system itself would remain wholly owned while a controlling stake in the new operator would also be retained by the state.

Ukraine turned to the EU and the United States in June with a proposal to jointly modernize its gas transportation system. The sum earlier announced for modernization ranged from $3 billion to $5.3 billion.

Ukraine believes that these investments will help ensure natural gas transit to Europe in the amount of 145 billion cubic meters annually until 2030.

Gazprom experts estimate Ukraine’s gas transport system modernization at $16 billion.

The Ukrainian gas transportation system, which is run by Ukrtransgaz, has a carrying capacity of 288 billion cubic meters at its entry point and 178.5 billion cubic meters at its exit, including 142.5 billion cubic meters bound for Europe and 3.5 billion cubic meters for Moldova.

Ukraine’s gas transportation system consists of 72 compressor stations, 110 production shops and 1,451 gas distribution stations. The overall length of gas pipelines operated by the company is 38,600 kilometers, including 22,200 kilometers of trunk pipelines and 16,400 kilometers of extensions.

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