MOSCOW, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday told the government to drop contractual options and allow Ukraine to get natural gas without one-month prepayment.
"Given the difficult situation Ukraine is currently in, and the incompletion of our negotiating process with the European Union, I would ask the government to refrain for now from applying any options arising from the contract," Putin told a government meeting.
Meanwhile, he ordered the government to hold additional consultations "if, of course, our partners agree to such consultations. If they do not, we shall act in accordance with the contract."
Noting that some European countries recognize the legitimacy of the current Kiev authorities, Putin said they have done nothing to support Ukraine.
Russia, he said, does not recognize Kiev authorities' legitimacy, but continues providing economic support to that former Soviet Union republic.
"Of course, this situation can not last forever," Putin said, adding that "we need to act very carefully in order not to destroy what little is left."
Also on Wednesday, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yury Prodan said the country had suspended natural gas intake from Moscow since April 1 after Russian gas monopoly Gazprom canceled discounts on gas supplies to Kiev.
Russia set the price of gas to Ukraine at 485 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. Prodan said his country is ready to resume gas imports from Gazprom if Moscow returns to the price of 385 dollars.
Saying Ukraine has been undergoing complicated political process, Putin urged Kiev to refrain from any irreversible actions.
"I hope the acting authorities (in Ukraine) will not make a mess which is impossible to reverse," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
He also said Russian economy must be ready to find replacement for the goods being imported from Ukraine.
Moreover, Putin instructed the officials to consider "where, when and on what price we could launch our own production."
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