Russia to Give Ukraine Month to Start Paying for Gas, Putin Says

Russia will demand Ukraine pay in advance for natural-gas deliveries in a month unless its neighbor resumes payments, a move that may lead to disruptions in fuel supplies to Europe, President Vladimir Putin said.

Russia “is ready to wait for a month” after not receiving “a single ruble or dollar” from Ukraine for gas deliveries in March, Putin said today during an annual televised call-in show.

Putin urged Europe to provide aid to Ukraine to ensure uninterrupted gas deliveries to the region, without giving a deadline, according to a letter to 18 European heads of state last week. Gas export monopoly OAO Gazprom is supplying the fuel to Ukraine with little chance of receiving payments for more than $2.2 billion owed, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said April 11.

“If there are no payments, we will move to prepayment terms, in line with our contract,” Putin said. “This is a very difficult measure, which could lead to disruptions in our shipments to Europeans.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net; Vladimir Kuznetsov in Moscow at vkuznetsov2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net Torrey Clark, Patrick Henry

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