Russia extends deadline for Ukraine to pay gas bill

Russia is giving Ukraine another week before it will start demanding prepayment for gas.

If Ukraine and Russia don't come to a deal, and Ukraine doesn't cough up money for prepayment, then Russia has threatened to cut off its natural gas supply.

Russia's state-controlled gas company Gazprom made the announcement at the start of a second round of talks mediated by the European Union, The Associated Press reports.

The negotiations in Brussels are being chaired by EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, and both countries' energy ministers are in attendance.

The EU sought to help Ukraine avoid an interruption of gas deliveries, which would also disrupt Western Europe's supplies.

Russia says its wants prepayment for the coming month's supplies, after it received payment from Ukraine for the February and March supplies.

If Ukraine pays its bill for April and May, then Russia might negotiate on whether to charge Ukraine for gas in advance.

The talks between Russia and Ukraine come as President Obama voiced concern over Europe's energy independence Tuesday.

Obama said the crisis in Ukraine "highlighted the need for greater energy security in Europe."