Putin gives Ukraine one more month to pay off gas bill arrears

In a long Q & A session Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said he would wait just one more month for Kiev to cover its debt for Russian gas. In future, Moscow would require payment in advance. DEBKAfile: Since the Kiev government has no money to cover its outstanding gas bill or buy new supplies, Putin’s words mean that Ukraine will run out of gas in a month. This was the Russian leader’s response to statements from Washington and Europe that new sanctions were being prepared for Russia. As the US, Russian, EU and Ukrainian foreign ministers prepared to meet in Geneva Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama accused Putin of supporting “non-state militias” in southern and eastern Ukrain in an attempt to destabilize the country. 

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