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5 Mar, 2008 08:40

Ukraine warns Russia it might use gas bound for Europe

Ukraine may start diverting some of the gas destined for Europe from Russian gas pipes, according to the spokesman of Russian gas giant Gazprom. The company has received notification from Ukraine that it plans to make up the shortfall in in its own gas su

This comes after Gazprom halved its supply to Ukraine on Tuesday.

The volume may amount to 60 million cubic metres of gas per day – about 50% of what Russia used to supply to Ukrainian consumers. 

In the same statement, Gazprom’s spokeperson, Sergey Kupriyanov, said that despite some speculation to the contrary in the Ukrainian media, Gazprom has paid in full for the transit of its gas to Europe. He also reiterated the company is ready to continue talks with the Ukrainian side. 

Representatives of the Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz are expected to travel to Moscow soon. 

Ukraine's stance

Meanwhile, speaking at the cabinet of ministers on Wednesday the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Timoshenko, claimed that Russia is trying to exert pressure on Ukraine by means of another gas war.  

“This morning some countries have spoken out against the blackmail of Ukraine. I think that everyone understands that Ukraine is being pushed into unfavourable conditions,” said Mrs Timoshenko. 

She also criticised the authorities of some central Ukraine regions where some schools and kindergartens had their gas cut off after Gazprom reduced regular gas supplies on Tuesday evening. She has ordered a criminal investigation into the events.