MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. The prime minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk republic has said the natural gas reserves there will be enough only until 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) Thursday, warning of an "ice age" in the region if no agreement on gas supplies is reached.
"At 3 p.m. on Wednesday Kiev authorities fully cut off gas supplies to the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Today are scrutinizing gas supplies and are in talks with the Ukrainian side and also other countries," Gennady Tsypkalov said.
If no agreement by that time is reached with Kiev or Russia, the region could start freezing, he said, warning of catastrophic consequences for local citizens and infrastructure.
By cutting gas to the self-proclaimed republic, Kiev is escalating tensions and trying to spread panic, he said. "This is political and economic pressure," Tsypkalov told TASS by phone.
This happens just as frosts have come to the region and gas consumption has increased, he said. "They have taken this step to spread panic among the people," the premier said.
Temperatures in Luhansk are now around minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).