Russia warns of gas supply cuts if Ukraine does not pay bills

MOSCOW, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:12am EDT

MOSCOW, April 10 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia could cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine if it fails to pay its gas bills on time and warned there could be a reduction in onward deliveries to Europe.

Calling for urgent consultations with Europe on stabilising Ukraine's economy in a letter to European leaders, seen by Reuters, Putin also said 11.5 billion cubic metres of gas, worth $5.5 billion, needed to be pumped into Ukrainian gas storages to guarantee uninterrupted transit.

State-controlled gas producer Gazprom stopped pumping gas to Ukraine during price disputes in the winters of 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, leading to reduced supplies in European countries that receive Russian gas via pipelines that cross Ukraine. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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