Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy entity, yesterday yanked Ukraine’s special discount on gas supplies effective next month, a move that further squeezes the economy of the beleaguered former Soviet state.

gazpromThe move follows a working meeting between Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller and Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss Ukraine’s falling behind on payments for past supplies.

Gazprom claims Ukraine owes 50 percent of its $3B bill for 2013, and has not paid for January and February shipments made this year.

“Given that Ukraine is not fulfilling its obligations or complying with the agreements reached when signing the contractual addendum providing a gas discount, Gazprom resolved to remove the discount starting from this April,” Miller told Medvedev, according to a “transcript” of the session posted on Gazpom’s site.

“Your decision to terminate the beneficial terms of supplies looks completely justified,” said Medvedev.

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin told reporters that  ending the special rate, which was negotiated by ousted Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych, has nothing to do with the “current situation” in Ukraine.

Ukraine gets 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia.

Ketchum received $7.8M for fees/expenses from Gazprom during the 12-month period ended Nov. 30, 2013. That work covered an October distribution of a statement from Miller regarding Ukraine’s gas debt.

Five Ketchum staffers registered last month as lobbyists for Gazprom and the Russian Federation.

They are Shabnam Najafov, citizen of Azerbaijan; Amalia Kontesi, Greek citizen; and Americans Alexa Voytek, Andrew Segerman and Albert Boothby.

The Russian Federation paid Ketchum $3.5M for fees/expenses during the November-ended year.