Moldova assured on Wednesday that it would pay for gas supplied by Russia but held in Ukraine where it transits, after Moscow threatened to reduce its deliveries by accusing Kiev of siphoning a gas pipeline.
A small former Soviet republic that is a candidate for entry into the European Union, Moldova heats itself largely with this Russian gas that transits through Ukrainian territory.
On Tuesday, the Russian supplier Gazprom accused Kiev of diverting part of it and threatened to reduce the volumes sent to Chisinau from next week.
“To be clear, all gas delivered to Moldova ends up in our country,” said Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu.
“The volumes of gas Gazprom refers to that remain in Ukraine are our reserves and they are stored in warehouses in Ukraine. Our country has always paid for these quantities and will continue to pay for them in full,” he added.
Moldova, with a population of 2.6 million, has been hit hard by the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, particularly in terms of energy, as Gazprom has already cut its gas exports to Chisinau by half.
The Russian gas giant accused the Ukrainians on Tuesday of diverting 52.5 million cubic meters of gas destined for Moldova and threatened to start cutting deliveries from Monday.
European countries regularly accuse Moscow of using its gas manna, on which they still depend heavily, to pressure them to punish them for their support for Ukraine.
“Pressure, blackmail and threats don’t work anymore,” Spinu said Wednesday.