Kiev: Russia has halted all gas deliveries to Western Europe

Moscow/Kiev - Russia has halted all supplies of gas to Western European customers in an escalation of the energy dispute between Moscow and Ukraine, a spokesman for Ukrainian gas monopoly Naftogaz said on Thursday morning.

The Naftogaz statement, reported by the Interfax agency, came after Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner told local radio on Wednesday that his country had received no supplies from Russia via Ukraine overnight.

The cut comes after sharp reductions Tuesday in the volume of gas being supplied by Gazprom to Europe via pipelines in Ukraine.

On Tuesday supplies were cut to just 72 million cubic meters of gas for European consumers, from 260 million on Monday and an average of 300 million per day previously.

Ukrainian and Russian officials are due to meet in Moscow on Thursday for talks to resolve the commercial dispute, which came to a head at the end of 2008 with the expiration of Russo-Ukrainian contracts for gas shipments. (dpa)