MOSCOW, Russia -- Reuters reported that Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister, recently downplayed the prospects for a New Year energy dispute with neighboring states, saying Ukraine and Belarus are fulfilling existing contracts.
Putin said "For now, we have agreements with all our partners. The current contracts are signed and are being fulfilled."
Putin also said he still supports a previously mooted merger between Russia's Gazprom and state-owned Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz.
He said that I do not think this proposal is worthless. Naftogaz will become a minority shareholder but it will become a minority shareholder of a large global company and as such will have its own voice."
Ukraine rejected the proposal earlier this year.