Ukraine's Gas Chief Hospitalized

ReutersDubyna, left, and Miller attending a gas-deal signing ceremony Jan. 20.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Friday evening that Oleh Dubyna, chief executive of Naftogaz Ukrainy, was in intensive care after undergoing heart surgery.

Speaking on a Kiev television show, Tymoshenko said Dubyna had been under considerable stress because he had been receiving orders from her and President Viktor Yushchenko throughout a dispute that cut off gas to many European consumers for two weeks.

"I think the president was giving diametrically opposed orders to the head of Naftogaz Ukrainy, and Dubyna was being torn between orders from the prime minister and the president," Tymoshenko said, Interfax reported.

"It's my opinion that he wasn't doing very well, and the result is that the head of Naftogaz Ukrainy is in intensive care. He underwent a very serious heart surgery," she said.

Nestor Shufrich, a lawmaker from the Party of the Regions, was quoted in the report as saying Dubyna had undergone a "bypass" procedure. Tymoshenko did not elaborate on his condition.

Naftogaz has made no official comment on Dubyna's health, but Interfax reported Friday evening that his condition was not life-threatening, without specifying where it got the information.

On Jan. 19, Dubyna and Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller signed a 10-year supply deal clearing the way for resumed gas flows to Ukraine and Europe. Gazprom closed the taps to Ukraine on Jan. 1, and it halted all transits through the country on Jan. 7.

The deal has been called into question, however, as Yushchenko and his aides have described it as a "defeat" for Ukraine and have vowed to renew negotiations. Tymoshenko, who helped broker the deal, opposes reopening the talks, but she said last week that Ukraine would negotiate for discounted gas in 2010.