Pipelines are seen at a gas border delivery station of pipeline operator Eustream in the eastern Slovak town of Velke Kapusany, near the border with Ukraine, April 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa)
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Ukraine's best hope for keeping furnaces and factories running through next winter is to store as much natural gas as it can after a U.S. aid pledge fell far short of the nation's needs.Russia responded Tuesday, when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine would have to prepay for gas shipments unless it starts paying down the $2.2 billion debt it has accumulated through March.Of the $50 million Biden pledged, $11.4 million is committed to funding Ukraine's May 25 elections. If every penny of the remaining $38.6 million were used to help solve the country's energy problems, it would be only about 1.7 percent of Ukraine's $2.2 billion gas bill – representing less than 2 cents toward every dollar of debt. Experts from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Agency for International Development also will travel to Ukraine in May to advise officials there on maximizing energy efficiency, the White House said. The U.S. will work with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help Ukraine attract private companies to increase output from domestic gas fields, according to the U.S. official.
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