Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he thought it was “strange” for the U.S. to react to a letter he wrote to European leaders warning Russia might cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine, which would potentially reduce exports to the rest of the continent. Putin addressed America’s response to the letter at a meeting of Russia’s Security Council.
“It’s a bit strange,” said Putin, according to Russia Today. “It’s strange, at any rate, as it’s bad to read other people’s letters. It wasn’t addressed to them, but the consumers of gas in Europe.
Putin then made what seemed to be a thinly-veiled reference to the NSA surveillance programs that were revealed last year.
“Everybody is used to the fact that our American friends are eavesdropping, but turning to peeping is shabby altogether,” said Putin.
Putin was responding to a statement from U.S. State Department Jen Psaki that accused Russia of reneging on a deal that offered reduced gas prices to Ukraine and using “energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine” in the wake of protests that ousted the regime there that was closely allied with Moscow.
Putin’s letter, which he sent Thursday, denied he had raised natual gas prices for political reasons and said Russia would “require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars” for the amount of gas Ukraine would need “to guarantee uninterrupted transit,” The letter was addressed to officials in France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Austria, Greece, Moldova, Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bosnia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, and Turkey.
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