Russia postponed the intergovernmental consultations with Ukraine due to the fact that Ukraine and the European Commission adopted a memorandum on the development of Ukraine's gas transportation system.
The content of the memorandum "at least arouses questions," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a Security Council meeting.
"International consultations at the level of prime ministers of the two countries are scheduled for the next week. We probably should postpone them in order to decide on consequences of this document," Medvedev said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin backed the president's proposal. The Russian side "scrutinized this document," Putin said.
All this may significantly complicate talks between Naftogaz and Gazprom, Reuters reports.
The two companies are discussing the price Naftogaz will pay for gas in the second quarter of this year. The Russian side may seek to levy fines on Naftogaz for importing a smaller amount of gas in the first quarter than stipulated in the contract.
The EU agreed on Monday, March 23, to help Ukraine make expensive but necessary improvements to its gas supply network in exchange for more reliable transit service and grater market transparency.
"It seems to me the document about which we are talking is, at a minimum, ill-considered and unprofessional because to discuss such issues without the basic supplier is simply not serious," Putin said in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Russia's former president also hinted that his country might have to re-think its relationship with the European Union, dw-world.de reports.
"If the interests of Russia are ignored then we will have to start re-examining the principles of relations with our partners," he said.