The Russian president has offered Ukraine a commercial loan of up to three billion euros to help pay for a disputed price hike by the Moscow-based gas monopoly Gazprom. Kiev, however, has been quick to refuse the offer. Gazprom has threatened to cut supplies to Ukraine unless the prices are agreed on by January 1, a move that would affect supplies to Western Europe. At the Carnegie research centre in Moscow, Dmitry Trenin, said: “You cannot have your cake and eat it. You have to decide. If the Ukrainian government has decided that the future of Ukraine lies with the West, then they have to know that the basis for their relations with Russia will be different.”Gazprom is demanding a more than four-fold price increase for the gas it sends to Ukraine. It is also reported the company has piled more pressure on Kiev by agreeing to buy Central Asian gas that would normally have gone to Ukraine. Gazprom wants to end a deal whereby Kiev pays a reduced price in return for Russian gas transiting through Ukraine. 80 percent of Russian gas shipments to Europe pass through Ukraine. European countries that receive Gazprom supplies are urging the neighbours to clinch a deal to keep supplies flowing. Gazprom promises that supplies to Europe will not be affected but Ukraine’s gas company has questioned that claim.
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