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Ukraine's self-proclaimed Donetsk republic halts gas payments to Kiev — speaker

February 20, 2015, 11:25 UTC+3

The republic's authorities are considering the possibility of paying to Russia

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MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has suspended gas payments to Ukraine, DPR parliament speaker Andrei Purgin said on Friday.

"We have now suspended payments for the purpose of resettlements. We’ll see whether to continue paying Ukraine or to pay Russia," he told the Donetsk news agency.

Russian natural gas is currently flowing to the DPR via the Luhansk Region and the city of Novoazovsk, he said.

"It was very timely for Russia to start ‘blue fuel’ supplies. If it had not done this, we would have had to start emergency gas supply cutoffs this morning. We have gas reserves near Severodonetsk but they are not large," Purgin said.

Representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics said on Thursday Ukraine had stopped supplying natural gas to the regions. Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz said gas supply had been cut off due to "critical damage caused to the gas transportation infrastructure as a result of combat operations" in the area.

At the same time, Naftogaz failed to give the timeframe of the gas infrastructure restoration.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Energy Ministry and Gazrpom on Thursday to prepare proposals on humanitarian gas supplies to southeast Ukraine. LPR Head Igor Plotnitsky later confirmed that Russian natural gas had started flowing to the territories of the self-proclaimed republics.

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