Russian natural gas producer Gazprom announced a more than 40 percent increase in the price of gas for Ukraine on Tuesday, stepping up economic pressure on Kiev in its crisis in relations with Moscow.
Price rows have in the past led to cuts in Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and decreases in onward deliveries to Europe, but this time the financial blow to Kiev is set to be cushioned by a new International Monetary Fund loan package.
Ukraine will now have to pay $385.5 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in the second quarter, an increase from the $268.5 agreed in December and higher than the average price for clients in the European Union but around the level Kiev had expected.
The decision, which had been clearly flagged by President Vladimir Putin, ended a discount that the nations agreed on in December, before the crisis over the ouster of Ukraine’s Moscow-backed president and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
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