Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), accompanied by Giovanni Bignami (L), president of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), visits the Cosmonautics Memorial Museum in Moscow, on April 11, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / SERGEI KARPUKHIN)
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Europe should provide aid to Ukraine to ensure uninterrupted natural gas deliveries to the region, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said.About 15 percent of Europe's supplies flow through Ukraine's pipelines from Russia, making the country a linchpin in the continent's energy security, and Putin has often used gas as a tool to pressure Kiev to abandon attempts to reorient the economy toward the European Union.Ukraine, which buys half its gas from Moscow-based Gazprom, is seeking alternative supplies, including imports from Europe.Russia has provided Ukraine's economy with $35.4 billion of gas subsidies in the past four years, Putin wrote in his letter.Europe should help Ukraine, and the prospects for Russian-Ukrainian gas talks depend on European reaction to Putin's letter, Peskov said, adding that Russia's government hadn't received any replies yet.
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