MOSCOW – Russia’s state natural gas company is complaining that Ukraine is endangering the supply of Russian gas to Western Europe this winter.
The comments Thursday by Vitaly Markelov, deputy chairman of Gazprom’s management committee, raise echoes of 2009, when Russia cut gas shipments to Europe for three weeks in a dispute with Ukraine. Most of Russia’s gas to Europe goes through pipelines crossing Ukraine.
Ukraine, which Gazprom says owes $1.3 billion for gas imports, has announced it doesn’t intend to buy any more Russian gas this year and instead will use gas already stored underground. Markelov says that will deplete the amount of so-called “technical gas” needed to drive the gas through the pipelines to Europe.
Markelov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying “this is a catastrophe.”