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Gazprom warns Ukraine of closing gas supplies

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has warned Ukraine that it will suspend gas supplies, if Kiev fails to settle all overdue debts by Monday.

“Gazprom will end gas supplies to Ukraine, if Kiev abuses the February 11 deadline for paying off all overdue debts and fails to conclude a proper contract,” the gas monopoly’s spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said.

Ukraine's official agencies have not received any official warnings from Russia yet as regards a possible suspension of Russia gas supplies, a source at President Viktor Yushchenko's secretariat told Itar-Tass Friday quoting information from Ukrtransgaz company that operates main pipelines.

Gazprom must warn Ukrtransgaz about the suspensions of supplies by a telegram having the signature of Bogdan Budzuliak, the chief of its department for transportation, underground storage and utilization of gas, the source said.

The telegram should also specify the time when the suspension is due to take place and the pipeline routes, along which supplies of gas will be slashed so as to re-configure the technological scheme of the throughput.

“In the absence of a document like this, any talk on a possibility of suspensions can only be regarded as an oral warning,” the source said.

He added however that a telegram might come any time, as it was Gazprom's official spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov who had aired the warning.

Spokespeople for press services of the national oil and gas monopoly Naftogaz Ukrainy and the Ministry of Fuel and Energy also told Itar-Tass the leadership of the national fuel and energy sector had received information on Gazprom's warning but there had been no official telegrams from the corporation on the projected outage of supplies. (itar-tass)