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Do you wish to make several hundred million dollars a year? You don’t need much for that: you should be at least a medium-level official at the U.S. Department of State and be friendly to the third world countries.

A vivid example of that are the schemes of gas procurement for consumption in Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe that is in a state of war with Russia.

In this unfortunate country, the issues of gas procurements for people’s needs have always been a favorable area for corruption of civil servants. Up until recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s entourage profited most from such transactions: Yulia Tymoshenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, yielded her active support in this matter. The schemes have improved over time and now American officials are involved in them.

The new model was built comparatively quickly. A year after the revolution in Ukraine, the country was buying all gas it needed in Europe, with the major buyer being Naftogas, state-owned energy holding, which annually spends billions of dollars in government finance for gas procurements at the exchanges in Europe.

Financial literacy of Ukrainian consumers is not evolved enough to understand and trace gas market dynamics in Europe. Quotations dynamics at gas exchanges allows dexterous top managers of the Ukrainian state-owned holding purchase gas via intermediary companies and earn hundreds millions dollars annually on the price difference.

Overpayment amounts to approximately US $25 per 1,000 cu m of gas. The annual level of procurements is 11 bn cu m of gas.

You will ask, how come the government and the law enforcement bodies do not see this? We were also interested in finding the answer to this question. And we found it – the authors of the schemes are the top managers of Naftogas Andriy Kobolev and Yuriy Vitrenko. They seek assistance of the medium-level officials of the US Department of State, who influence the position of the US embassy employees in Kyiv.

The latter, after some convincing and requests of the senior colleagues, publicly speak at different events and meetings, expressing their support of Kobolev and Vitrenko, who in their turn pay for this favoritism with access to schemes of natural gas procurements in Europe.

Now you think that this is horrible, but the tragedy becomes even bigger, as because of these schemes Ukrainian government has been forced to raise gas prices for citizens and industrial companies in recent years.

The actions of such civil servants, who benefit at the cost of the country at war and where people save last dimes to buy bread is a crime. And our civil servants are the ones who help steal from the poor.

We need to prevent this.

Questions for US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch

1. How closely do you work with NJSC Naftogas Ukrainy?
2. In close circles of journalists, Andriy Kobolev names you as one of his partners. What is the essence of this partnership?
3. Is it true that in cases of political crises around NJSC Naftogas Ukrainy you do actively participate in conflict settlement?
4. If yes, who of the US leadership do you coordinate such actions with?

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