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Relief as Naftogaz pays up

UKRAINE'S Naftogaz has paid in full for its May natural gas deliveries from Russia, the state-controlled monopoly OAO Gazprom said yesterday, easing concerns of a new payment dispute that could have affected European supplies.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned last week that gas supplies to Ukraine could be halted this summer if it fails to pay its bills, threatening cutoffs in European countries that rely on Russian gas piped across Ukraine. Russia turned off the taps to Ukraine in January, halting most Russian gas supplies to Europe for nearly two weeks.

Putin warned that if Ukraine's natural gas company missed a deadline to pay its May gas bill, Russia would exercise its right to demand prepayment for future deliveries and said the taps would be shut if advance payments were not made.

But Naftogaz said on Friday that it had paid the bill, and Gazprom's press service confirmed yesterday that the payment was received.


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