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Putin: Disruptions of EU Gas Supplies via Ukraine Possible

Moscow has warned that Ukraine could siphon Russian gas intended for European consumers
By The News · 13 of December 2016 18:14:52
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he addresses the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, No available, photo: AP/Dmitry Lovetsky

MOSCOW — The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin has warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel of a threat to the gas supplies Russia sends to Europe via Ukraine.

Putin told Merkel in a telephone call Tuesday that Ukraine has been reluctant to sign a contract on Russian gas supplies for the coming winter and that it “threatens transit to Europe.” Moscow has warned that Ukraine could siphon Russian gas intended for European consumers.

A pipeline through Ukraine is a major conduit for gas exports to Europe. Past disputes between Russia and Ukraine have led to cutoffs, including a 2009 standoff that caused serious disruptions in winter supplies.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has brought relations between the two ex-Soviet neighbors to the verge of rupturing.