BBC Ukraine about gas supply crisis in Moldova

The gas supply crisis in Moldova repeats the past problems of Ukraine: the contract with Gazprom expired and a new agreement is impossible, BBC Ukraine notes in an article about the threatened supplies of Russian gas in Moldova, IPN report.

BBC’s correspondent in Chisinau Steve Rosenberg reminds that Russian threatens to leave Moldova without gas if it does not sign a new contract until December 1. Negotiations continue. Moldovan officials say they would like to sign a new contract with Gazprom, but only if the terms are favorable.

“For Moldova, though, reducing Russia’s influence won’t be easy. In energy terms, Moldova is closely tied to Moscow. Not only has the country been 100% dependent on Russian gas. But its own gas company, Moldovagaz, is majority-owned by Gazprom. And more than 80% of Moldova's electricity comes from a Russian-owned power plant in Trans-Dniester - a separatist region of Moldova, backed economically, politically and militarily by Moscow,” runs the article.

The journalist says they also invoke a debt of millions of dollars that Moldova accumulated towards the Russian gas giant. “We are ready to pay a particular part of the debt during a period of time. Burt things should be transparent. We don’t know how this debt formed. We want an audit, eventually in concert with Gazprom, so as to determine the exact size of the debt and the method for repaying it,” BBC reproduced the opinion of Prime Minister Natalia Gavriliță.

BBC reminds that up until now, 100% of Moldova’s gas has come from Russia. But the contract to supply it expired at the end of September. Gazprom raised the price and Moldova balked at paying it. In the absence of a new deal, the Russian energy giant reduced supplies, prompting Moldova to declare a 30-day state of emergency. Gazprom accused Moldova of “provoking a crisis” and demanded repayment of a $709m (£514m) debt, which Moldova disputes.

Speaking about the 15 million cubic meters of gas borrowed by Ukraine to Moldova, which represent 0.08% of Ukraine’s reserves at the moment, BBC quotes a high-ranking official as saying that the only thing Ukraine wants is for Moldova to return this gas until the end of winter.

“Once in Moscow’s orbit, Moldova has been tilting from Russia towards the West more recently. The country's leadership is now pro-European and supports closer ties with the EU. Many here suspect that the gas crisis is the Kremlin’s way of expressing its disapproval.”

BBC notes the supporters of the current government are confident that Ukraine, Poland and Romania will not leave Moldova without gas in winter and accuse the United States and Germany of allowing to finish the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which enables Putin to blackmail Moldova.

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