Russian energy giant Gazprom said Thursday that it had received payment in full from Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz for natural gas supplied in February, RIA Novosti informed.

The Russian company confirmed Naftogaz's earlier statement that it had settled accounts for February supplies, totaling $360 million.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier Thursday that Russia may have to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine, and via Ukraine to Europe, if Kiev failed to pay in full for gas delivered in February.

In line with agreements reached earlier in Moscow, Ukraine must pay for each month's gas supplies by the 7th day of the following month. If payment is not made, the contract envisions a transfer to an advance payments system.

Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Ukraine on January 1 over non-payment, and the sides' failure to reach a new gas deal. A week later, Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas intended for EU consumers and cut off gas deliveries to the European Union via the country, prompting two weeks of gas shortfalls across much of Eastern Europe.

The standoff was resolved after negotiations between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko resulted in the signing of a new gas agreement on January 19.

The Gazprom statement came a day after masked Ukrainian Security Service agents raided the headquarters of Naftogaz on Wednesday, sparking criticism from the prime minister.

The SBU security service, which is overseen by President Viktor Yushchenko, has accused Naftogaz of illegally diverting 6.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas bought from Russia.

Following news of the raid, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said the sole aim of the operation was to "paralyze Naftogaz's activities and destroy the gas distribution system in Ukraine and the system of payments. They wanted to frighten people."

Naftogaz spokesman Valentyn Zemlyanskiy said earlier that the security service personnel demanded to be shown all the original documentation concerning the January 19 gas deal between Naftogaz and Russian gas giant Gazprom. However, he said the documents were not seized.


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