Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller sits in on a press conference by the Russian Energy Minister following talks on energy security in Berlin, on May 30, 2014.AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL
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Russia's Gazprom gave Ukraine on Monday an extension into next week to resolve a gas price dispute at the heart of the two countries' confrontation, a day before Moscow was due to switch off the gas unless Kiev paid in advance.Since a pro-Moscow president was toppled in Ukraine in February, Russia has demanded a sharp increase in the price Ukraine pays for gas. Kiev says it cannot afford it and wants to pay a discounted price which it negotiated in the past.Moscow had previously threatened to switch off Ukraine's gas as soon as this Tuesday unless it began paying up front for supplies, a measure that could potentially have also hit European supplies shipped through Ukrainian pipes.Europe gets a third of its gas needs from Russia, and almost half of these supplies are sent via Ukraine. On Monday, Gazprom said gas was flowing to Europe as usual.The debt Moscow says Kiev already owes is equivalent to around 3 percent of Ukraine's GDP.
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