EU demands calls for resumption gas supplies

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The European Union accused Russia and Ukraine of holding their neighbors hostage with a cutoff of gas supplies and urged the countries' political leaders to settle their dispute.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country holds the EU presidency, said the bloc no longer views the Russian-Ukraine dispute as a trade spat. Their gas companies are state-owned and "whatever they do they don't do without political influence," Topolanek said.

Speaking to reporters, he gave Russia and Ukraine until Thursday to resolve their dispute.

He did not elaborate about any consequences, but suggested both were risking their future relations with the 27-nation bloc. "Russia and Ukraine have a vested interest" in good relations with their neighbors, he said.

Topolanek discussed the gas dispute with members of the European Commission, the Brussels-based EU executive, who were in Prague.

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