Russia gas threat sends chill through EU-Asia summit

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Russia gas threat sends chill through EU-Asia summit

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Italian President Giorgio Napolitano hosted a dinner for EU and Asian leaders in Milan on Thursday night ahead of the second and final day of talks aimed at enhancing relations.

But even as leaders dined, the Ukraine crisis still loomed large. Ahead of the talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Europe’s gas supplies could be at risk this winter in retaliation for sanctions against Moscow.

Putin said he would not be to blame if supplies were disrupted in a repeat of similar incidents in 2006 and 2009.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko is set to meet Putin on the sidelines of the summit on Friday.

Hopes have been dashed of a Russian pullback from the Ukrainian border despite indications from Moscow earlier this week that nearly 18,000 troops had been withdrawn.

Putin kept Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel waiting for four hours to start their talks on Thursday.

Merkel said there were had been very big lapses to the ceasefire agreement made last month in Minsk.