Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of possible disruption to Europe's gas supply on Thursday, as the U.S. confirmed it would send additional non-lethal military support to Ukraine.
Speaking at an annual televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Putin said Russia would give Ukraine a month to pay off its gas debts, but would then switch to a "complicated" pre-payment scheme which could disrupt supply.
Gas giant Gazprom, in which the Kremlin has a majority stake, claims Ukraine owes it more than $2.2 billion.
"It's a complicated settlement and might lead to disruption of supply of gas to our European consumers. We can cut it off right now. But we will wait another month," Putin said.
The unfolding dispute between Ukraine and Russia has led to fears of a disruptions in gas supply to Europe, given that Russia supplies around a third of the continent's natural gas, and that some of that supply is delivered through pipelines running through Ukraine.
On Thursday, the European Commission agreed to gas-security talks with Russia, and urged Putin not cut off supplies to Ukraine.
Later on Thursday, U.S.Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said America would send additional help to Ukraine.
"Earlier this morning I called Ukraine's acting defense minister to tell him that President Obama has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and other supplies," Hagel said at a press conference.