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Russia cuts off gas supply to Ukraine as deadline passes

QuestCinq.com/News
-A gas worker in western Ukraine: Gazprom said Ukraine was obliged to ensure gas reached its European customers. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Russia has cut off gas supplies to Ukraine after a payment deadline passed and negotiators failed to reach a deal with Russia on gas prices and unpaid bills.

Gazprom’s spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said that since Ukraine had not paid for the gas by Monday Moscow, had no legal grounds to carry on supplying it to Ukraine.

However, Kupriyanov added that the supply to Europe was continuing as planned and Ukraine was obliged to make sure gas reached its European customers.

Russian wanted payment of $1.95bn (£1.15bn) for past due bills by 9am Kiev time on Monday. As the deadline passed Gazprom issued a statement that it would start demanding payment in advance for gas.

The European commission said in a statement that Ukraine was ready to accept a compromise under which it would pay $1bn now and more later, but Russia was not in agreement.

European Union energy official Günther Oettinger said he was “not pessimistic” that agreement could be reached.

The Russian deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, told Russian news agencies on Monday a decision on possible next steps would be taken after a meeting between Gazprom’s chief executive, Alexei Miller, and President Putin.

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