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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Importer: Gas Feud Costly

If Russia and Ukraine do not come to terms over the price of natural gas deliveries to Ukraine, Russians Western gas consumers may be the victims, one of the largest Western Europe importers told Interfax.

Albert Grigoryants, spokesperson of the German gas importer Ruhrgas AG, said that Ukraine may decide to tap the pipeline running from Russia to Western Europe if Russia cuts off deliveries to Ukraine by Feb. 25.

Ruhrgas imports 20 billion cubic meters of gas, which makes it one of Russia's biggest clients. But Grigoryants said that Ruhrgas will not be too badly affected because it has gas in storage and can always buy gas from other suppliers, such as the Netherlands and Norway.

Gazprom has already warned its foreign customers of possible supply disruptions after Thursday.

Germany is among the most dependent countries in Europe on Russian natural gas. Germany, France, Italy and Austria receive about 30 percent of their gas supplies through the Ukrainian pipeline.

Last week, Russia announced it would charge Ukraine $85 dollars per 1, 000 cubic meters, up from $27, and has since then threatened to cut off gas supplies. Ukraine already owes 165 billion rubles ($286 million) in gas payments, Interfax said.

A Ukrainian gas official denied Wednesday that its bill was unpaid, saying the country was paid in full through March 1.

In October, when a similar conflict over the price of gas erupted between Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine siphoned off gas supplies destined for Western Europe, causing a drop in supplies to as low as 50 percent of normal levels. When the conflict heated up last week, gas importers said that they were worried Ukraine might do so again.