KIEV: Ukraine’s prime minister said Thursday the local currency would be worth nearly a third more if it stopped relying on Russian natural gas and become energy-sufficient. Volodymyr Groysman said the dollar would now cost 18.5 Ukrainian hryvnias instead of the current 26.5 if Kiev did not need to pay hard cash for its fuel supplies.
Ukraine had relied for decades on petro-giant Russia — an eastern foe whom Groysman accused of “theft” and running “corruption schemes”. Kiev has frozen its relations with Moscow because of Russia’s support for insurgents fighting the government in eastern Ukraine and currently buys its gas from central European states. But Groysman told local media that he “recently saw analysis” showing that Ukraine could rely on its own natural gas supplies by 2020. “If we add our own Ukrainian gas and stopped buying it using hard currency, the dollar would not have the problems it is currently having today,” Groysman said. A dollar could buy around eight hryvnias before a pro-EU revolution started that toppled the Russian-backed president in February 2014.