Putin Threatens Ukraine’s Imports to Turn Economic Screw

President Vladimir Putin told his government to develop plans to replace imports from Ukraine and said Russia can’t subsidize its neighbor permanently, increasing economic pressure as the government in Kiev battles separatists.putin2

Russia “continues to provide economic support and subsidize Ukraine’s economy with hundreds of millions and billions of dollars,” Putin told a cabinet meeting outside Moscow yesterday. “This situation, of course, can’t go on forever.”

Putin urged talks before possibly requiring Ukraine to make advance payments for natural gas, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country owes Russia $16.6 billion in energy debts. Ukraine’s government, which is trying to accelerate approval for an international bailout, said yesterday it may use force to remove pro-Russian activists from official buildings in the east…more

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