Parliament Speaker Lytvyn (file photo) (epa)
13 January 2006 -- Ukraine's parliament speaker says he doesn't believe lawmakers will cancel their vote to sack the government of Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov.
Volodymyr Lytvyn told reporters in Kyiv the decision to dismiss the government was "just."
Lytvyn's comments come after President Viktor Yushchenko called on lawmakers to reconsider their decision.
Parliament on 10 January voted to dismiss Yekhanurov and his government over a controversial gas deal with Russia.
Both Yushchenko and Yekhanurov have described the move as anti-constitutional and have said the government will continue working until parliamentary elections in March.
Yushchenko is due to address the nation on television later today.
(compiled from agency reports)
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- Ukraine consumes 70 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year. It produces 20 bcm of its own gas, has a signed contract to import 40 bcm from Turkmenistan, and in 2005 was getting 29 bcm from Russia as payment for transit of Russian gas.
- Ukraine sells some 7 bcm of gas a year to the West and places some in underground storage facilities. These facilities can hold 34.5 bcm.
Ukraine is the sixth-largest consumer of gas
in the world and uses more gas than Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia combined.
- Russia has proven gas reserves of 47 trillion cubic meters (tcm) -- the largest in the world ahead of Iran and Qatar.
Russia sells approximately 160 bcm to Europe each year.
By 2015, Europe is expected to import 300 bcm, or 40 percent of its projected needs from Russia.
Russia's Gazprom is the world's largest gas company.
It is the only company allowed by Russian law to export gas outside the borders of the CIS. It also owns the gas-transportation system and most of the gas fields in Russia.
The Russian state is Gazprom's majority shareholder
, with a 51 percent share. The company's ownership rights changed as of the beginning of 2006, with Gazprom stock being sold on the open market. The Russian state, however, will continue to hold the majority stake.