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AKIPRESS.COM - Gazprom reduced supplies to Ukraine on Monday after Kiev failed to meet a deadline to pay off its gas debts in a dispute that could disrupt supplies to the rest of Europe, the media report Monday.
Kiev and Moscow failed to agree overnight on the price of future gas deliveries, with both sides refusing to abandon well-established positions: Russia offering a discount and Ukraine rejecting it as a tool for political manipulation.
Russian officials said Alexei Miller, Gazprom's chief executive, and Energy Minister Alexander Novak would meet President Vladimir Putin later on Monday.
"Today, from 10:00 a.m. Moscow time, Gazprom, according to the existing contract, moved Naftogaz to prepayment for gas supplies ... Starting today, the Ukrainian company will only get the Russian gas it has paid for," RIA-Novosti cited the company.
Gazprom had demanded Kiev pay off at least $1.95 billion of a gas debt that it puts at more than $4 billion by the Monday morning deadline, or face supply cuts and the prospect of paying up front.
Gazprom said on Monday it had filed a lawsuit at the Stockholm arbitration court to try to recover the debt, while Ukraine's Naftogaz said it was filing a suit at the same court to recover $6 billion in what it said were overpayments.
"The gas for European consumers is being delivered at full volume and Naftogaz Ukraine is required to transit it," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.
Ukraine's Naftogaz declined to comment, saying it would issue a statement later in the day, but its pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz said it was operating normally.