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Opposition deputies in the Verkhovna Rada forced a vote on the legislation today (TV screen shot)
February 6, 2007 -- Ukraine's parliament has passed a law to ban the privatization, sale, or lease of the country's gas-pipeline system.
The legislation was backed by 430 deputies in the 450-seat chamber. There were no votes against.
About 80 percent of Russian gas destined for Europe is sent via Ukraine and Russia's state-controlled Gazprom gas monopoly has long wanted to acquire control over the Ukrainian transit gas-pipeline system.
The legislation was initiated by the opposition following Russian President Vladimir Putin's remarks last week that Ukraine was ready to set up a joint gas venture with Russia to manage the gas pipelines across its soil.
Supporters of opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko briefly blocked parliamentary activity earlier in the day to force a vote on the legislation.