Russia has reportedly handed Ukraine a $7billion bill for gas which Kiev had committed to buy last year but didn’t take.
Russian state firm Gazprom is said to have demanded the cash from Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz for the 2012 gas imports.
The bill could be linked to Ukraine’s recent deal with Shell for rights to shale gas in the country, an unnamed source at Naftogaz told Reuters, suggesting it was politically motivated.
The two countries have had a prickly relationship when it comes to gas ever since 2006 when Moscow cut off supplies to its neighbour amid claims Ukraine had used supplies from Russia destined for other countries.
At a press conference for the European Business Association on Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said: “We need to resolve these issues in the spirit of friendly relations with Russia,” reported local press.