Putin orders Gazprom to halt Ukraine gas deliveries

Russian PM Vladimir Putin ordered Gazprom to cut deliveries of gas at the Russian-Ukrainian border, saying he would not resume supplies to Europe via Ukraine without international observers.


AFP - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told state-run energy giant Gazprom on Wednesday to cease all deliveries of natural gas into Ukraine.

In a meeting with Putin, Gazprom head Alexei Miller proposed "to end deliveries of gas at the Russian-Ukrainian border in conditions where Ukraine carries out the theft of Russian gas," Russian news agencies reported.

Putin replied: "I agree with your proposal, but this needs to be done as publicly as possible with the presence of international observers."

Ukraine said earlier on Wednesday that Russia had fully halted gas deliveries through its territory to Europe, but Gazprom countered that Kiev had halted the deliveries by shutting down the last export pipeline.

Miller told Putin at the meeting: "Last night and over the course of the morning Ukraine closed all gas transport corridors to Europe. Still, Gazprom continues supplying the gas transport system of Ukraine."

Moscow has insisted that cuts in gas deliveries to Ukraine are justified as retaliation for Kiev's alleged theft of Russian gas bound for Europe.

Ukraine denies siphoning off gas and has accused Russia of engineering the crisis, which has led nearly a dozen European countries to report complete cutoffs of Russian gas deliveries.

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