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Russia wants gas money from Ukraine

Gazprom demanded Ukraine pay an overdue gas bill urgently, raising fears of a new "gas war" and increasing pressure on Kiev as it tries to build ties with Europe.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the payment problems as critical, ahead of Kiev's signing next month of agreements with the European Union which would mark a shift away from Moscow. He told Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller Kiev had not taken the payments seriously enough in recent talks.

"The (problems) exist and they are absolutely critical," Mr. Medvedev said at a government meeting. Mr. said Ukraine had been given until October 1 to pay for natural gas deliveries in August, but no payment had yet been received. He said Gazprom had also paid Ukraine $1 billion up front to pump gas though its territory to Europe.

"The situation with Ukraine's gas payments is coming to the boil. Ukraine has failed to pay fully for August supply," Mr. Miller told the meeting. Earlier he said he was "extremely concerned".


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