UPDATE 1-Russia's Gazprom says concerned over Ukraine gas payments
MOSCOW, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom said on Tuesday it was concerned over neighbouring Ukraine's ability to pay for gas after Kiev failed to pay for deliveries earlier this year.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Ukraine had been given until Oct. 1 to pay for August gas deliveries, but no payment had been received, a situation which he said had to be resolved "urgently".
"We are exceedingly worried about the current situation with Ukrainian payments for Russian gas supplies," Miller said in a statement.
Kiev aims to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union in November, but Moscow has hinted that Ukraine's demands for Russia to lower what it called "exorbitant" gas prices would only be met if it joined a Russia-led Customs Union.
The two countries waged two "gas wars" over prices in the winters of 2006 and 2009, with Moscow halting deliveries not only to Ukraine but to the rest of Europe, forcing some in the European Union to try to find alternative sources of energy.
Ukraine's heavy external financing needs over the next 18 months have raised doubts over how Kiev plans to pay debt as well as its gas import bill from Russia.