EU ‘concerned’ over Ukrainian dismissal of energy company boss –



The European Union is “seriously concerned” by the Ukrainian government’s decision to fire the reformist leader of state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz, a spokesperson said on Friday (April 30th).

The Ukrainian cabinet on Wednesday sacked Naftogaz chief Andriy Kobolev, whose transparency moves won him the support of Western investors, and suspended all members of the company’s supervisory board.

EU spokesman Peter Stano said Brussels had “serious concerns” about the move.

“We call on Ukrainian leaders to ensure that management decisions of state-owned enterprises are taken in full compliance with the basic principles of recognized corporate governance standards,” he said.

The Ukrainian government said Kobolev – well known for leading Naftogaz to victory in a legal battle with Russian energy giant Gazprom – was sacked after the company recorded losses of 19.0 billion hryvnia ( $ 685 million) in 2020.

Naftogaz denounced the move, describing it as politically motivated and argued that the company provided more than $ 5 billion to the state budget last year.

Kobolev helped wean Ukraine off its dependence on Russian gas after Moscow in 2014 seized Crimea and war broke out in eastern Ukraine with Russian-backed separatists.

The United States – which backs Ukraine alongside the EU in its standoff with Russia – also criticized the decision to impeach Kobolev, saying it “disregarded fair and transparent corporate governance practices “.

Ukraine is deeply dependent on international loans, including the International Monetary Fund, which has returned liquidity to Kiev on the condition of implementing reforms to eliminate corruption.


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