Ukraine leader pledges review of disputed gas deal with Russia

WORLD DIGEST

June 23, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

MOSCOW -- Yulia V. Tymoshenko, who is poised to return as Ukraine's prime minister, vowed yesterday to review a disputed deal with Russia on natural gas imports, setting the stage for a new confrontation that could disrupt her country's economy and threaten supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

She spoke as three political parties once closely allied with President Viktor A. Yushchenko - and then deeply divided -signed an agreement to create a parliamentary coalition and, eventually, a new government that would follow the pro-Western course he has set. The agreement ended nearly three months of political paralysis, but it left unsolved many of the issues that divided Yushchenko's supporters after he took office in January 2005.

Tymoshenko, who was Yushchenko's first prime minister for eight months last year, returned yesterday to the political oratory that made her hugely popular, even as it worried foreign investors and angered her allies in what became known as the Orange Revolution.

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