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MOSCOW, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his proposals to the leaders of the European countries buying gas from Russia in connection with a critical situation around Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed.
“Indeed, such a message has been sent,” Dmitry Peskov said commenting on earlier reports on the matter. “Today it is passed through diplomatic channels to leaders of states-consumer of Russian natural gas,” the presidential spokesperson said.
Earlier, a source close to the matter said Vladimir Putin had sent a letter to the leaders of European countries who buy Russian natural gas over the situation around Ukraine.
“After a meeting that the president held the day before with the government presidium, Putin sent a letter to heads of European states buying Russian gas,” the source added.
“The letter contains detailed description of the critical situation that developed against the backdrop of Ukraine’s growing debt for gas being supplied to it, as well as possible consequences for gas transit to Europe,” he said.
On Wednesday, April 9, President Vladimir Putin held a special meeting devoted to the situation around Ukraine.
“Three billion dollars is Ukraine’s debt, the accumulated gas debt stands at $2.2 billion, and what we consider Russia's profit shortfall stands $11.4 billion, which brings the total sum to $16.6 billion,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the meeting.
“We could have switched to the advance payment system earlier, but we did not do that because we understood the difficult economic situation in Ukraine,” Medvedev said.
“I would ask the government and Gazporm to refrain from using this resource stemming from the contract in whatever form,” Putin said. “Of course, if our partners are prepared to have these consultations. If not, then it is out of the question.”
In that case, Putin said, Russia would be acting strictly in compliance with the contract.
“I will give thought to consultations with our partners. I am asking the Foreign Ministry to arrange for this work,” Putin said.