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Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk: Russians 'Want Us to Freeze'

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Image: Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 6, 2014. EU heads of state meet Thursday in emergency session to discuss the situation in Ukraine.Michel Euler / AP, file

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UNITED NATIONS — The prime minister of the Kiev government accused Russia on Thursday of attempting to freeze Ukraine in the coming winter by using natural gas as a weapon to subjugate the former Soviet Republic. "They want us to freeze. This is the aim and this is another trump card in Russian hands. So, except military offense, except military operation against Ukraine, they have another trump card, which is energy," Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in an interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. "The ultimate goal of Russia is to organize, to orchestrate another frozen conflict in Ukraine."

Russia's state-controlled energy company Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June because of a row over Kiev's unpaid gas bill, raising concerns that the country may not be able to cover the peak-demand winter season. The European Commission is aiming to propose an interim solution to the gas quarrel between Russia and Ukraine at talks it is brokering in Berlin on Friday. Yatsenyuk said there were no official negotiations on it, though he said a plan to help Ukraine secure additional gas "would be helpful for us."

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— Reuters

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