MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused Ukraine on Tuesday of seeking to disrupt economic ties with Russia and putting at risk the safety of gas supplies to Europe.

In an open letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Medvedev said he would postpone sending a new ambassador to Kiev and that Moscow hoped a new Ukrainian leader -- due to be elected in January -- could improve bilateral ties.

Disputes over Russian gas supplies to Ukraine have led to disruptions in supplies to Europe twice in the past two years and caused problems in Russia's relations with the West.

"We have an impression that Kiev consistently seeks to break traditional economic ties with Russia, firstly in the energy sector," Medvedev said in the letter posted on his website (

"As a result, the stable use by our countries of a factually united gas pipeline network serving the energy security of Russia, Ukraine and many European states has been put at risk," said Medvedev.

"Russia hopes the new Ukrainian leadership will be ready to build ties between our countries, ties which will indeed answer the true hopes of our peoples in the interests of strengthening European security," he said.

Russia has also been at odds with Kiev, whose leadership is seeking to join NATO and the European Union, over of other issues ranging from the future of the Russian Black Sea naval base in Crimea to the future of the Russian language in Ukraine.

Moscow has been alarmed by Ukraine's deal with the EU earlier this year to reconstruct its gas pipeline network, seen by Russia as an infrigement of its accord with Kiev reached after the last gas supply dispute in January.

"The supreme Ukrainian leadership is negotiating the supplies of gas -- the Russian gas -- with the European Union, bypassing Russia, and signs a document contradicting the Russian-Ukrainian deals in January," Medvedev said in a separate posting on his website.

"I would want to inform you that taking into account the anti-Russia course of the Ukrainian leadership, I have decided to postpone sending our new ambassador to Ukraine," he said.


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