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Putin Comments Raise Concern over New Bulgaria Gas Crisis

Date: 03.11.2009

Russia PM Vladimir Putin has stated that the Ukraine might beproblems paying for its gas supplies, leading to concerns of a new gas crisis in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria was one of the countries most affected in the January 2009 crisis, when a payment dispute led to Russia cutting off supplies to the Ukraine including those destined for the rest of Europe.

Putin said late Friday that the European Union had not yet given the Ukraine the money it had promised to help provide stable supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

He also blamed Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko for blocking payment, the BBC reported.

"It appears we are againproblems with payments for our energy supplies, which is extremely regrettable. The EU has still not provided Ukraine with the money it has promised for that purpose," Putin said.

He added; "European leaders are referring us to the European Commission, while the European Commission leadership are evading discussing the issue with us."

In August, the EU and international lending institutions agreed a USD 1.7 B loan deal to help secure European gas supplies.

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