Putin tells European leaders Ukraine debt may affect gas transit

(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has informed several European leaders about the “critical situation” over Ukraine’s natural gas debt and about a possible impact on the transit of gas to Europe, Russian news agencies said on Thursday.

Putin expressed “extreme concern about the situation surrounding Ukraine’s gas debts and … supplies of gas to the European Union,” state-run RIA cited Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying.

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.

Gazprom says Ukraine owes $2.2 billion for gas supplies and missed the deadline for paying for its March supplies.

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