Russia’s Gazprom has threatened to cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine if Kiev fails to pay part of its over USD 3.5-billion debt before June 3.
Alexey Miller, the CEO of state-controlled Russian gas exporter, said on Wednesday in a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that the company would reduce gas supplies if Kiev fails to pre-pay for next month’s supplies.
“If Ukraine does not pay by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 3, gas supplies will be reduced,” said Miller.
In addition, Miller said that Ukraine consumed some USD 1.7 billion worth of gas in May. The consumption will raise Kiev’s total gas debt to USD 5.2 billion by June 7.
The Gazprom chief also repeated the company’s position that it will supply as much gas as Ukraine pays for.
Earlier in the month, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Ukraine should pay in advance for gas imports from June amid Kiev’s failure to settle its outstanding gas debts.
Kiev refuses to pay for Russian gas at the price of USD 485 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, demanding a discount before it clears its debts.
Gazprom increased the price by 80 percent starting from May.
Kiev’s interim government claims that Russia raised the price following anti-government protests that resulted in the ouster of Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February.
Russia provides about half of Ukraine’s and 30 percent of Europe’s total gas demand with key pipelines on the Ukrainian territory.