BRUSSELS, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Russia's minister of industry and energy urged the European Union Tuesday to put pressure on Ukraine to agree to an increase in gas prices.
Viktor Khristenko, speaking at a news conference in Moscow, said that Ukraine has had 11 years to prepare for a free market in natural gas, Itar-Tass reported.
"This is as much time as one could have," he said.
The dispute started when Russia's state-owned Gazprom raised the price of 1,000 cubic meters of gas from $50 to $230 and Ukraine refused to pay.
Russia claims Ukraine has siphoned off $25 million worth of gas from a pipeline crossing its territory, which Ukraine denies. Officials at Ruhrgas and other German companies said that supplies coming via pipelines crossing Ukraine were down significantly Monday but returned to close to normal Tuesday.
France, Poland, Italy and Slovakia all reported drops in supply through pipelines that cross Ukraine, and Russia says it is sending an extra 95 million cubic meters a day to make up for the shortage.
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told the BBC that he was monitoring the situation and invited Russia and Ukraine to resume negotiations. EU energy officials are set to discuss the crisis at a meeting Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has indicated it would call for arbitration.