Russia Could Cut Gas Supplies to Ukraine This Week


By Marcy Kreiter

Russia is threatening to cut off natural gas to Ukraine this week as newly elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is pushing to up the pressure on pro-Russian separatists.

Ukraine said Friday it would pay $786 million of the estimated $5.2 billion it owed Russia through the end of May but it was unclear whether that would be enough to forestall a cutoff, the Washington Post reported. Gazprom raised its rates for Ukraine from $269 per thousand cubic meters to $485 in March, the highest in Europe. Price negotiations were to resume Monday in Brussels.

The report said Ukraine has about two months of gas in storage and with the weather warming, a cutoff would not have as serious an impact on Europe, which imports 15 percent of its natural gas needs through Ukraine, as it would have had earlier this year.

Igor Didenko, Ukraine’s acting deputy energy minister, called the price unreasonable.

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