Russia’s Gazprom threatens Europe gas cuts through Ukraine

Nov 22, 2022, 10:58 AM | Updated: 3:51 pm
FILE- Russia's Sudzha gas pumping station is seen, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. Russian energy giant Gazp...

FILE- Russia's Sudzha gas pumping station is seen, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. Russian energy giant Gazprom has threatened to reduce natural gas supplies through the last pipeline heading to Europe via Ukraine, saying the amount it's supplying for Moldova is not ending up in the former Soviet republic. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)

(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)

Russian energy giant Gazprom has threatened to reduce natural gas supplies through the last pipeline heading to Europe via Ukraine, saying the amount it’s supplying for Moldova is not ending up in the former Soviet republic.

Gazprom says the gas company of Europe’s poorest country, Moldovagaz, paid for part of its November flows of gas under its contract. It added that nearly 25 million cubic meters has been supplied this month but not paid for.

The Russian state-owned company tweeted that if “the imbalance observed during the transit of gas to the Moldovan consumers across Ukraine continues,” Gazprom “will start reducing its gas supplies” through Ukraine starting Monday.

Both Moldova and Ukraine hit back at Gazprom, with Ukraine saying all supplies that Russia sent through the country were “fully transferred” to Moldova.

“This is not the first time that Russia resorts to using gas as a tool of political pressure. This is a gross manipulation of facts in order to justify the decision to further limit the volume of gas supplies to European countries,” said Olha Belkova of the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine.

It’s the latest escalation after Russia has cut off most natural gas flows to Europe amid the war in Ukraine, which European leaders have called energy blackmail and Gazprom has blamed on maintenance and payment issues. Besides the pipeline through Ukraine, one other pipeline is still bringing Russian gas beneath the Black Sea to Turkey.

Heading into winter when natural gas is needed to heat homes as well as generate electricity and power factories, any reductions in supplies could mean higher prices, which have been fueling inflation and squeezing households and businesses. Natural gas prices have fallen since August peaks and European nations have been able to fill their storage capacity for winter, but the crunch could worsen if the weather turns out to be colder than normal.

The energy crisis has hit Moldova especially hard, with Russia halving its natural gas supply and Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure triggering massive blackouts in several cities in the former Soviet republic.

Moldova relied heavily on Russian energy before the war and its Soviet-era energy systems remain interconnected with Ukraine, which is why the missile barrages set off the automatic shutdown of a supply line and caused the lights to go out temporarily.

With energy prices and inflation already high, the threat of a loss of further energy supplies to Moldova could leave consumers scrambling to pay their bills in the country of about 2.6 million.

Simone Tagliapietra, an energy policy expert at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, pointed to a recent meeting between Moldovan President Maia Sandu and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about energy assistance, noting that leaders who visited Kyiv earlier in the war to show their support had their gas cut off subsequently.

“Maybe they are following the same plot,” Tagliapietra said of Russia. “It looks like an act of despair for them. They are running out of energy weapons.”

He said one motive could be to put pressure on the EU by forcing it to drum up financial support for Moldova.

An international aid conference in Paris co-chaired by France, Germany and Romania raised more than 100 million euros ($102 million) on Monday to support Moldova. Earlier this month, the European Union also pledged the country 250 million euros (nearly $256 million) in aid.

Moldova’s office of reintegration policies said in a statement that the energy crisis in the country — including Transnistria, a Russia-backed breakaway region — “was not caused by Chisinau, but by the unjustified decisions of the Russian company Gazprom.”

Moldova’s statement was a response to accusations Tuesday by Transnistria, in which de-facto authorities alleged in a letter addressed to the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that Moldova’s pro-Western leaders are responsible for energy shortages in the breakaway state.

“The only solution for overcoming the crisis is the resumption of the supply of natural gas by Gazprom in the quantities provided by the contract in force,” Moldova’s statement read, adding that Transnistria’s accusations were designed “to mislead public opinion and external partners.”

“Possibly preparing the ground for a new challenge, which could endanger the fragile stability which we have managed to maintain until now.”

Moldova became a candidate for EU membership in June, the same day as Ukraine.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

John Duarte, a Republican candidate in California's 13th Congressional District, arrives at the Cap...
Associated Press

GOP’s Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just over 50% of the vote. Gray conceded in […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Family seeks answers after police kill man on his own porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show Austin police officers arrived Nov. 15, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at Rajan […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials seeking $27 billion due to delays in confronting the attacker, court documents show. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in […]
21 hours ago
The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee discuss proposed changes to the primar...
Associated Press

Dems move to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st voting state

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats voted Friday to remove Iowa as the leadoff state on the presidential nominating calendar and replace it with South Carolina starting in 2024, a dramatic shakeup championed by President Joe Biden to better reflect the party’s deeply diverse electorate. The Democratic National Committee’s rule-making arm made the move to strip Iowa […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Republican Joe Kent’s campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District. “We believe the election workers did their best to ensure a fair election and count the ballots accurately,” his campaign said in a statement. “But given the […]
21 hours ago
FILE - In this May 24, 2004 file photo, a Mount Graham red squirrel darts through trees on Mount Gr...
Associated Press

Endangered red squirrel found in Arizona sees increase in population

The latest survey shows another increase in the population of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel in the Pinaleno Mountains of Arizona.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Russia’s Gazprom threatens Europe gas cuts through Ukraine