Russia cuts off gas to Ukraine as talks collapse.

Guardian: “Russia turned off the gas to Ukraine on Monday, the latest hostile act in the crisis between the two countries. Both sides blamed the other for the collapse of last-ditch talks in Kiev on Sunday evening that lasted into the early hours of Monday.”
“Alexei Miller, chief executive of Russia’s state gas company, Gazprom, said the Ukrainians were trying to “blackmail” Russia into giving them a lower price and had failed to pay back a huge debt accumulated over recent years. Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said the gas negotiations were part of a “general Russian plan to destroy Ukraine”.
Gazprom’s spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said: “Gazprom supplies to Ukraine only the amount that has been paid for, and the amount that has been paid for is zero.”
….The Ukrainian president has spoken to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, by telephone about the plans, but it is not clear whether the Kremlin has the will, or even the ability, to rein in the protest movement in the east.
….The breakdown in negotiations over gas will bring back memories of earlier gas wars, when deliveries from Russia to Europe were interrupted. At the height of summer, the immediate consequences this time are likely to be less dramatic.
….Gazprom has filed a lawsuit with the Stockholm arbitration court over the $4.5bn of back-payments it says it is owed, while Ukraine has filed its own claim in which it alleges that Kiev overpaid by $6bn in recent years.
….However, he said Ukraine had promised to fulfil all transit requirements, and refused to say what the Russian response would be if Ukraine did take gas meant for European consumers.
“We will deliver exactly what is asked for by our European partners,” Miller said.”