Local residents pass a checkpoint controlled by pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Ukranian city of Slaviansk June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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Russia cut off gas to Ukraine Monday in a dispute over unpaid bills that could disrupt supplies to the rest of Europe and set back hopes for peace between the former Soviet neighbors.Calling time on weeks of wrangling in talks over natural gas supplies, Russia said Kiev had missed a Monday morning deadline to repay $1.95 billion owed for previous purchases, and announced that Ukraine would now only get gas it has paid for in advance.At the same time, Moscow insisted that Ukraine must let Russian gas flow across the country through international pipelines to Russia's clients in the European Union – noting a temptation for Kiev to tap into those supplies in transit.However, a long-term reduction of supply could hit EU consumers, which get about a third of their gas needs from Russia, around half of it through pipelines that cross Ukraine.
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