Russia says to further cut gas to Ukraine

January 6th, 2009 - 3:41 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Jan 6 (DPA) Russia has said it will further cut gas to Ukraine by 65 million cubic metres per day, the amount Moscow says Kiev is stealing from European clients further downstream.Gazprom cheif executive Alexei Miller Monday proposed the measure while briefing Prime Minsiter Vladimir Putin on the standoff since the company shut off supplies to Ukraine on Jan 1 over non-payments and a pricing dispute.

“Good, I agree. Let’s begin the cuts from today,” Putin was reported to have responded.

Miller said Gazprom would instead increase gas deliveries to Europe through Belarus and its Blue-Stream pipeline under the Black Sea.

The news came after Russia accused Ukraine Monday of refusal to ship additional volumes of Russian gas via its pipelines as the deepening dispute over gas transit tariffs and pricing began to threaten supplies to European customers.

Russian gas makes up one-quarter of the European Union’s needs, 80 percent of which travels through Ukraine.

The new cuts would lower supplies transiting through Ukraine to some 250 million cubic metres per day.

By Monday evening, there was no sign of negotiations restarting in the deadlock and both parties threatened to bring their complaints to European courts.

The EU, meanwhile, sent a fact-finding mission to Kiev in anticipation of possible impacts to European consumers.

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