Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, halted nearly its entire export of natural gas to Europe on Tuesday in a sharp escalation of a dispute over prices with neighboring Ukraine that also underscored Russia's increasingly confrontational stance toward the West.
Ukraine has angered Russia by seeking membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as has Georgia, a country Russia fought a brief war against in August.
Oil and gas exports make up about 60 percent of the Russia budget. Oil prices, meanwhile, have fallen by about two-thirds since their peak last summer 08 of around $150.
Gazprom is seeking to raise the price Ukraine pays for gas from $179.50 last year to $450, and to collect what it says are fines for late payments on previous shipments.
Ukraine, in exchange, wants to raise tariffs for gas shipped across its territory.
I guess this is better than the open war.