Putin: Russia to deliver gas to Ukraine only on prepayment

Starting from June 1, Russian gas will only be delivered to Ukraine if it pays for it in advance, said President Vladimir Putin, as quoted by Russia Today. Despite Russia suggesting immediate consultations to resolve the Ukraine gas issue in April, there have so far been no specific proposals on ensuring stable deliveries and transit of Russian natural gas coming from EU partners, Putin said in a declaration to foreign leaders.
Kiev talks open without rebels
Ukraine’s political and civic leaders have held a first round of talks to end the crisis in the country – but separatists were not represented, according to BBC. The interim president said Kiev was prepared to listen to rebels, but said they must lay down their arms first. All of the same, the self claimed Donetsk republic proceeded in setting up an army, as separatist leader Roman Liaghin announced , Itar-Tass reported. On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television that Ukraine “is as close to civil war as you can get”, assuring Russia has “no intention” of sending its troops anywhere. Yet, Lavrov warned that any attempt to grant NATO membership to Ukraine would be “an issue for Russia” and its inclusion in the alliance would hurt European security.

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