MOSCOW, April 10 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)