Russian energy giant Gazprom said Sunday that Ukraine had paid only part of its huge gas debt and threatened Kyiv with a more than double price hike unless all arrears were cleared this year, AFP reported.

"We already have the first payments (but) this is not yet the full sum we agreed upon," Gazprom`s spokesman Sergei Kupryanov told the state television channel Rossiya.

The Russian firm says that Ukraine, which is severely dependent on Russian gas, owes 2.4 billion dollars.

"Until the debt is settled, the only price we can speak of is the European price, 400 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. We see our task in settling all problems with our Ukrainian colleagues before the New Year," Kupryanov said.

Currently Ukraine pays Russia 179.5 dollars for 1,000 cubic metres of gas, while for other European countries the price is set at around 400 dollars.

Gazprom has threatened to cut supplies if the debts are not settled, in a move that would risk a repeat of the interruptions to gas supplies to Europe in 2006.

Earlier, Gazprom said that under Tuesday`s agreement, Ukraine`s Naftogaz has until December 1 to pay 430 million dollars for gas delivered in September and part of the 800 million dollars it owes for October.

"We expect to receive reimbursement of September`s debts and part of October`s payments by December 1, and on December 2 we will be able to launch talks on further cooperation," Kupryanov said.

AFP