(Adds Putin's declaration)
BRATISLAVA May 15 Russian President Vladimir
Putin has informed multiple European states that gas supplies to
Europe through Ukraine may be halted as of June 1 if Kiev does
not pay its bills, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on
Fico, speaking to reporters after meeting NATO Secretary
General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the most pressing threat
facing Slovakia was the question of deliveries from Russia that
pass through Ukraine.
"Today, multiple member states including Slovakia were
informed by President Putin that as of June 1, if Ukraine does
not pay for supplied gas, it will not be supplied to the
European territory," Fico said.
"It is a serious threat to the energy security of Slovakia."
Putin's declaration, released by the Kremlin on Thursday,
said there was a problem with Ukraine's debt for gas and
insufficient levels of storage in Ukraine, and that over the
past month there has been no movement on resolving the
"Unfortunately, we have to say that we have not received any
specific proposals from our partners as to how to stabilise the
situation with the Ukrainian buying company so that it can meet
its contractual obligations and ensure reliable transit," the
"Given the circumstances, the Russian company (Gazprom) has
issued an advance invoice for gas deliveries to Ukraine, which
is completely in accordance with the contract, and after June 1
gas deliveries will be limited to the amount prepaid by the
The dispute does not relate to deliveries to Europe via the
Nordstream pipeline but only the one in Ukraine which carries
almost half of European supplies from Russia.
Putin also urged European leaders to do more to help Ukraine
through its economic crisis and to resolve the standoff over
Moscow has reduced gas supplies to Kiev during two past
price disputes, causing disruptions to supplies to Europe as
recently as 2009.
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Writing by Michael Kahn; editing by
Jason Neely and Elaine Hardcastle)