PARIS — All gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine were shut down Wednesday as the pricing dispute between Russia and Ukraine escalated. The European Union called for an immediate solution to the crisis.

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia conferring Tuesday with the chief executive of Gazprom, Aleksei B. Miller. Gazprom said Ukraine had shut the gas pipeline. Ukraine denied it.

The cutoff showed the first signs of hitting the European economy as the Hungarian unit of the Japanese automaker Suzuki said it was halting production because of restrictions on industrial users of gas. The Hungarian news agency MTI quoted a spokeswoman as saying Suzuki hoped to restart production Monday.

The Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz accused Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, of halting all transshipments at 7:44 a.m. Wednesday. But in Berlin, Aleksandr I. Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy chief executive, told journalists that it was Naftogaz, the Ukrainian company, that had closed a fourth pipeline, ending all transshipments to Europe.

“Unfortunately, the situation is continuing to deteriorate,” Reuters quoted Mr. Medvedev as saying. “Yesterday night, Ukraine completely shut down all export pipelines to Europe via Ukraine.”

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, called Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and the Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko, to urge that they quickly restore the flow of gas, a spokeswoman for the commission said in Brussels. The spokeswoman said Mr. Barroso told the leaders that it was unacceptable that Europe be a hostage to their dispute. Mr. Barroso also suggested the European Union was willing to send observers to monitor the flow of gas to Europe, if requested.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/wo...m.html?_r=2&hp