Russia gave Ukraine an extra week to pay in advance for this month’s gas supplies or risk a shutdown, at the start of a week of international talks on the crisis in the former Soviet republic.
The move to a prepayment regime, originally set for tomorrow, was moved back to June 9, Alexey Miller, the chief executive officer of Russian gas export monopoly OAO Gazprom (OGZD), said in an e-mailed statement today.
He made the announcement after Ukraine made its first payment for gas in months, transferring $786 million for supplies received in February and March. Ukraine still owes Gazprom for supplies in April and May.
The Russian move came as it was set to resume talks with Ukraine in Brussels today on a deal to keep the gas flowing between the countries amid their conflict over separatists trying to break away from the government in Kiev. Ukraine carries about 15 percent of Europe’s annual demand through its Soviet-era pipelines and accuses Russia of using gas as a political weapon by ramping up prices.