04/09/2014 09:19 EDT | Updated 06/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Russia Threatens It Could Ask Ukraine For Advance Payment For Gas

AFP via Getty Images
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the government at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, April 9, 2014. Putin on April 9 ordered Ukraine to come to the negotiating table over its unpaid energy bills, warning that it would otherwise require payment in advance for gas. Ukraine 'would receive only what they have paid for' if they failed to negotiate, Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. AFP PHOTO / POOL / SERGEI KARPUKHIN (Photo credit should read SERGEI KARPUKHIN/AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin has threatened that Russia's state-owned gas company could ask Ukraine to pay for gas in advance, according to Russian state news agencies.

In a meeting Wednesday with government ministers, Putin said that asking for advance payments "corresponded with the contract" between Ukraine and Russia, but asked that state energy giant Gazprom refrain from such drastic measures until "additional consultations" between both sides.

Russia has tightened the economic screws on Ukraine since its Russia-leaning president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from power in February after months of street protests. Last week, Gazprom said it would be scrapping all discounts on gas to Ukraine, meaning a 70 per cent price hike that will add to Ukraine's $2.2 billion in gas arrears.

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