Natalia Zinets and Alexei Anishchuk
April 11, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to ease European fears of gas supply cuts on Friday after Brussels said it would stand with the new authorities in Kiev if the Kremlin carries out a threat to turn off the tap to Ukraine.

Russia, which last month angered Western powers by annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, has raised the price it charges Kiev for gas and said it owes Moscow $2.2 billion in unpaid bills.

That has raised the specter of previous “gas wars”, when rows between the two former Soviet states led to problems with onward supplies to western Europe. A repeat of that scenario could hurt Russia as well as EU customers for its gas because Moscow depends for its public revenues on selling gas in Europe.

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