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Putin Warns Ukraine Over Gas Crisis

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko risked provoking a new gas crisis that could disrupt supplies to Europe.

“It looks like we will again have problems with energy payments,” Putin said after a telephone call with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Yushchenko’s main political foe and a frontrunner in a January 17 presidential election.

Putin’s warning raises the spectre of a new gas dispute, though diplomats have said Russia may be wary of entering a row with Kiev on the eve of the vote, which Moscow hopes will bring a more pro-Russian president to power.

Ukraine’s deep economic crisis has raised fears about its ability to pay for Russian gas.

NY Times

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