U.S.: Russia uses energy supplies 'to control Ukraine'Updated: 2014-04-11 20:41:33 KST
The United States was quick to respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin's warning that Moscow may cut its gas supply to Ukraine.
It has accused Russia of trying to take control of Ukraine using its natural resources as a leverage point.
"We condemn Russia's efforts to use energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine. Ukraine is now paying $485, a price clearly not set by market forces and well above the average price paid by EU members."
The State Department spokesperson also added that Washington is encouraging Ukraine and its Western border allies to prepare to reverse natural gas flows in the pipeline so that Kiev has access to additional gas supplies if needed.
Putin's warning came after Kiev missed a deadline to pay its two.two billion U.S. dollar gas debt.
In a letter to 18 European countriesPutin said gas giant Gazprom will be "compelled" to
require that Ukraine make up-front payments, and that if the back payments are not made the gas tycoon could "completely or partially cease gas deliveries" as a last resort.
Moscow's threat is worrying for European countries, as pipelines transiting Kiev carry Russian gas to several European Union countries including Germany, the largest Russian gas consumer.
Meanwhile, NATO released satellite images of the eastern Ukrainian border in late March and early April.
They showed that some 40-thousand Russian troops were deployed along with warplanes and helicopters.
An official from NATO says this is a capable force that is ready to quickly move into Ukraine with orders.
The revelations of the pictures come before top diplomats from the U.S., Russia, and Europe are set to gather for a ministerial-level meeting next week.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.
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What a big mess.