'Kiev risks Europe's gas supply'

Speaking out: Dmitry Medvedev

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today accused Ukraine of seeking to disrupt economic ties with Russia and putting at risk the safety of gas supplies to Europe.

In an open letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Medvedev said he would postpone sending a new ambassador to Kiev and that Moscow hoped a new Ukrainian leader - due to be elected in January - could improve bilateral ties, a Reuters report said.

"We have an impression that Kiev consistently seeks to break traditional economic ties with Russia, firstly in the energy sector," Medvedev said in the letter posted on his website.

"As a result, the stable use by our countries of a factually united gas pipeline network serving the energy security of Russia, Ukraine and many European states has been put at risk," said Medvedev.

Disputes over Russian gas supplies to Ukraine have led to disruptions in supplies to Europe twice in the past two years and caused problems in Russia's relations with the West.

Russia has also been at odds with Kiev, whose leadership is seeking to join NATO and the European Union, over of other issues ranging from the future of the Russian Black Sea naval base in Crimea to the future of the Russian language in Ukraine.

Moscow has been alarmed by Ukraine's deal with the EU earlier this year to reconstruct its gas pipeline network, seen by Russia as an infrigement of its accord with Kiev reached after the last gas supply dispute in January.

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