“Why are they being so stingy? They have money, too,” Putin said. Russia has already paid Ukraine $2.5 billion, he said.

Putin also advised about new potential bottlenecks in gas supplies for European consumers. He gave the reason as the payment problems afflicting Ukraine which is the most important transit country for supplies to the EU, the Interfax news agency reported.

Until November 7, 2009, Ukraine has to pay around $500 million, the newspaper Vremja Novostej reported.

In the last few months, Naftogaz of Ukraine NJSC has often transferred the money to OAO Gazprom at the last moment.