Former Ukrainian premier and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said on Friday that Russia is planning to deprive her country of sovereignty by proposing a merger of both countries' largest gas companies.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed earlier on Friday that Russia's energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's gas monopoly Naftogaz should create a joint holding. His Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Azarov pledged to consider the proposal.
"Only a nationwide resistance can stop this. We need to form a coordinating committee - Committee for Ukraine's protection. We need to work out an effective plan for ousting [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych," Tymoshenko was quoted as saying on her official website.
She proposed holding a large-scale protest near the parliament, the Supreme Rada, on May 11.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said his company and Naftogaz were also ready to consider an assets swap and that Russia would be interested in investing in Ukraine's gas transportation system, while Ukraine wants access to Russian energy resources.
In another sign of growing economic cooperation with Ukraine, Putin said Russia's VTB bank was ready to grant Ukraine a loan of up to $500 million, which could be used to finance its budget spending.
He suggested that Ukraine was beginning to see political stabilization, which should be followed by economic stabilization.
KIEV, April 30 (RIA Novosti)