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URGENT: Russian PM Putin threatens to review relations with EU


SOCHI, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will start reviewing its relations with the European Union should Moscow's interests be ignored, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said Monday Russia had been effectively excluded from talks at an international investment conference in Brussels on the modernization of the Ukrainian gas pipeline network, adding that the conference, convened by the European Commission, was limited to discussions between Ukraine and the EU.

"If Russia's interests are ignored, we will also have to start reviewing the fundamentals of our relations," Putin said. "We would very much like for things not to reach this point."

The premier also told journalists that a declaration on the gas market adopted in Brussels by Ukraine and the EU was poorly thought-out and unprofessional.

Putin said the European Commission had refused to combine efforts with Russia to jointly allocate funds to Ukraine, whose economy was badly affected by the global financial crisis.

"We proposed to our European partners, we discussed uniting the efforts of Russia and the European Commission, but we were told that the European Commission has no money for Ukraine," he said.

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