The situation between Ukraine and Russia continues to escalate on the economic side as the extended deadline to resolve the gas contracts has passed. Pro-Moskow rebels have reigned the armed conflict as the Ukrainian president has critized the deal on the table as a political trap that he wouldn’t sign his country for. European negotiators did not impress and the talks will continue but now the Kremlin has stopped the flow of gas to Ukraine.
Ukraine says Russia has cut off all gas supplies to Kiev, in a major escalation of a dispute between the two nations.
“Gas supplies to Ukraine have been reduced to zero,” Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said.
Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom said Ukraine had to pay upfront for its gas supplies, after Kiev failed to settle its huge debt.
Gazprom had sought from Kiev $1.95bn (£1.15bn) – out of $4.5bn it says it is owed – by 06:00 GMT.
The company said it would continue to supply gas to Europe, although Gazprom chief Alexei Miller warned that there now were “not insignificant” risks for gas transit to the EU via Ukraine.
Russia-Ukraine ties remain tense since Moscow annexed Crimea in February.
Kiev says Moscow backs separatists in the east of the country. Russia denies the charge.