Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom is increasing the price of the natural gas it sells to Ukraine by 40%, it announced today, in what Reuters sees as an attempt to increase economic pressure on Kiev. But Gazprom didn't explain the move in terms of geopolitics; the company said it was ending a previous "discount," granted in December, because Ukraine owes it $1.7 billion for unpaid gas bills. The price "is absolutely expected and clearly in accordance with the contract," the head of Ukraine's state-run energy company said.
To wit, Reuters notes that the new price is $385.50 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas; Ukraine was paying about $400 before the discount hit in December. The blow will also be softened by a new IMF loan package. Meanwhile, Russia continues to militarily threaten Ukraine as well. Vladimir Putin told Angela Merkel yesterday that he'd be pulling some troops from the Ukrainian border, but today NATO's top commander told foreign ministers that he'd seen no signs of that actually happening, CNN reports.