MOSCOW, April 10 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a letter to 18 European heads of state, called for high-level talks to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy.
He asked for a conference to “work out concerted actions to stabilize Ukraine’s economy and ensure the delivery and transit of Russian natural gas in accordance with” contracts already in force.
Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz owes money to Russia’s Gazprom for gas deliveries. The bill stood at $1. 45 billion at the end of 2013, and has increased by $526 million in 2014, Putin said.
As Kiev failed to make payments, the price of imported natural gas rose by 44 percent.
Gazprom, under such circumstances, is compelled to either demand repayment or shut off delivery.
Putin’s letter was sent to heads of state in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Turkey