By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom told Moldova on November 22 that it will cut off gas to the country in 48 hours if it does not pay tens of millions of dollars for recent deliveries.
Last month, Chisinau declared a state of emergency and started buying gas from countries other than Russia after its contract with Gazprom, the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, expired at the end of September, and the two sides failed to agree on details and pricing of a new long-term deal.
But in a breakthrough on October 28, the Moldovan government and Gazprom announced a new price formula for a five-year agreement to keep gas flowing.
“The deadline for current payments is November 22,” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupryanov told Russian broadcaster NTV, adding that the company “notified the Moldovan side that in 48 hours gas supplies to Moldova will be stopped in accordance with the contract.”
Moldovagaz head Vadim Ceban confirmed that Moldova’s state energy company received such a notification from Gazprom, saying the sum amounted to 1.3 billion Moldovan lei ($73.5 million).”
“We are actively working with the government to solve the problem by the deadline stipulated in the notification. I hope that we will manage to solve this problem,” Ceban told Reuters.
Some observers have said Moscow was using energy against the impoverished country sandwiched between EU member Romania and Ukraine for electing the pro-Western President Maia Sandu last year in a vote that rejected Russia-backed incumbent Igor Dodon.
Russia rejected the accusations, saying the price hike was purely commercial and reflected global markets.