Russia Halts Gas Supply to Ukraine

Russia Halts Gas Supply to UkraineRussia Halts Gas Supply to Ukraine

Russian state giant Gazprom on Wednesday said it halted gas deliveries to Ukraine after Kiev failed to make upfront payments for more supplies.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller said Ukraine's Naftogaz had used up all the gas it had paid for and "no new upfront payment had been made", adding that Kiev's refusal to buy Russian gas posed "serious risks" to gas transits to Europe through Ukraine, DW reported.

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak had already announced the end of gas deliveries to Ukraine in a radio interview on Tuesday, explaining that the move was required as Kiev had not paid upfront for more deliveries.

Novak had complained that Ukrainian authorities were not doing enough to allow repair crews to restore power to Crimea, citing "some kind of political motivation" not to ease the plight of 938,000 residents there remaining without electricity, waiting for Russia to send 300 mobile generators to the peninsula as an interim solution.

Novak said Russia may also halt coal deliveries to Ukraine.

"Russia delivers coal to the Ukrainian energy sector," he said. "We could—and maybe in this situation we need to—take a decision about halting supplies of coal by our commercial organizations, which deliver coal to Ukrainian power stations."

The threat pronounced by Russia's energy minister ushered in another round of tension between the two nations and was partly provoked by Kiev a day earlier when the government came out in support of halting the movement of goods to Crimea.

The move came unexpectedly amid a relative lull in fighting in separatist eastern Ukraine.

Past gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine have led to sporadic cutoffs. One standoff in 2009 caused serious disruptions in shipments to EU countries in the dead of winter.