MOSCOW – Russia's state-controlled gas company is halting supplies to Ukraine, its chief executive said Wednesday, less than two months after the two countries struck an EU-sponsored deal.
Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller said Russia sent the last shipment to Ukraine at 10 a.m. local time on Wednesday and send no more because Ukraine has not paid in advance for future supplies.
Russia resumed gas shipments to Ukraine less than two months ago after the two countries signed an EU-brokered deal ensuring supplies through March.
Miller on Wednesday warned Ukraine and Europe of possible gas disruptions following the cut-off.
Ukraine's "refusal to buy Russian gas threatens a safe gas transit to Europe through Ukraine and gas supplies to Ukraine consumers in the coming winter," he said.
The Gazprom chief said Ukraine had been buying up gas to store for the coming winter in the past two months but said it was not enough to get it through the winter.
Past gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine have led to cutoffs. One standoff in 2009 caused serious disruptions in shipments EU countries in the dead of winter.
Temperatures in Ukraine where most homes rely on piped gas for central heating were below freezing Wednesday morning.
Russia's supplies to Ukraine recommenced in early October after Gazprom received $234 million out of a promised $500 million prepayment from Kiev. Under the deal, Russia lowered the price it charged Ukraine to the same level granted to neighboring countries, from $251 per 1,000 cubic meters to about $230.
Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and its support for separatist rebels in the east soured relations between the two countries. Ukraine has since been trying to cut its dependence on Russia gas, buying from European nations which had bought it from Russia at a lower price.