On 9 December, Ivchenko had been dismissed from his post of first deputy fuel and energy minister, which he had combined with the job of Naftohaz chief. Ukrainian officials then said the dual position had been eliminated.
Ivchenko has been a key player in Ukraine's difficult negotiations with Russia on Russian gas supplies.
Russia wants to more than triple the current heavily discounted price of its gas deliveries, offering in exchange to increase payments for gas transit through Ukraine to Western Europe.
Ukraine has rejected the proposal. Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov was expected to travel to Russia today for the latest round of negotiations.
On December 8, 2005, RFE/RL and the Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS) jointly conducted a roundtable discussion on issues relating to Belarus's post-Soviet transition. To view video of the roundtable, click here.