WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- The United States on Sunday criticized Russia for its decision to cut off gas to Ukraine, saying it created "insecurity" in the region's energy sector.
"Such an abrupt step creates insecurity in the energy sector in the region and raises serious questions about the use of energy to exert political pressure," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.
"As we have told both Russia and Ukraine, we support a move toward market pricing for energy but believe that such a change should be introduced over time rather than suddenly and unilaterally," he said.
The spokesman expressed the hope that a resolution will be reached between Russia and Ukraine "that provides energy security and predictability for all concerned."
Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter dispute over gas prices with the former asking the latter to pay more than quadruple the current price for gas it buys from Russia.
Russia has said that it would shut off all natural gas deliveries to Ukraine as of Jan. 1 if Kiev does not accept the price hike. Enditem