President Vladimir Putin has asked Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom to continue supplies to Ukraine and hold off on its plan to demand advance payments even as Kiev has refused to pay the hiked price.

“Considering the difficult situation in Ukraine and our uncompleted talks with the European Union, I would ask the government to refrain [from advance payment demand] till we have additional consultations, provided of course our partners agree to have such consultations,” Mr. Putin said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier told the meeting that Gazprom had the right to switch to advance payments with Ukraine as it had run up a debt of $2.2 billion . Gazprom has nearly doubled the price of its gas for Ukraine in April reverting to the price provided by the 2009 contract.

More In: World | International | News