MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom's CEO said on Wednesday night that last-ditch gas talks with Kiev in Moscow had failed and the Russian energy giant would cut supplies to Ukraine on Thursday.
"The talks with Ukraine on gas supplies for 2009 ended without result," Alexei Miller said, adding "At 10.00 a.m. (07:00 GMT) on January 1, Gazprom will completely cut gas deliveries to Ukraine."
Ukraine and Russia's Gazprom have been holding last-ditch talks in Moscow on Ukraine's gas debt and a price for 2009. The talks failed after President Viktor Yushchenko reportedly ordered Naftogaz delegation chief Oleh Dubyna to halt negotiations in Moscow and immediately return to Kiev.
A Gazprom source confirmed that Dubyna had been ordered back to Kiev, "Dubyna received instructons to break off negotiations and return to Kiev."
"We got the impression that there are political forces in Ukraine who are extremely interested in a gas dispute between our countries," Miller told journalists.
Gazprom, who has repeatedly demanded that Kiev repay its outstanding debt before any new contract could be signed, said earlier that if the outstanding sum was not paid it would start reducing supplies as of January 1, 2009.