US 'help-yourself' idea to bolster Ukraine gas supplies

Valves of a gas pipeline not far from Kiev on March 4, 2014Washington is working with Ukraine and its western neighbors to help reverse gas flows along pipelines linking Russia to Europe after Moscow threatened to cut off supplies to Kiev. “We condemn Russia’s efforts to use energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on Thursday to cut off Ukraine’s gas unless Europe drummed up the cash to cover Kiev’s debts to the Russian state gas firm Gazprom and ensure its own supplies in a flaring standoff over the splintered ex-Soviet state. The veteran strongman’s most direct warning about deliveries on which EU nations’ economies depend came with Ukraine facing a new secession crisis following its loss of Crimea.

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