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Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Wednesday that Kiev knew of plans by Russia to halt gas flows this winter to Europe, in comments which are likely to escalate the standoff between Moscow and the West. Russia halted gas supplies to Ukraine in June over a gas pricing dispute, but it has continued supplies to Europe, its largest market. "The situation in (Ukraine's) energy sector is difficult. We know of Russia's plans to block (gas) transit even to European Union countries this winter," he told a government meeting.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been placed under formal investigation by French magistrates for negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister, her lawyer said on Wednesday. Lawyer Yves Repiquet told Reuters that Lagarde, who this week was questioned by magistrates in Paris for a fourth time under her existing status as a witness in the long-running saga, said the step was unfounded. "We are appealing it," Repiquet said by telephone, adding that Lagarde, who was due to return to IMF headquarters in Washington later on Wednesday, had no plans to resign. In French law, magistrates place someone under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.