Gazprom, a Russian state-owed energy firm, continues to supply gas to Moldova’s indebted separatist enclave Transnistria without receiving payment just to support the territory, Moldova’s energy minister said on Sunday.
“I believe that for Russia, de facto free supplies of gas to Transnistria are a greater priority, far more important than any commercial relationship, money or other considerations,” Moldovan Energy Minister Victor Parlicov told the news website deschide.md. “You saw what Gazprom did when debts built up (in Moldova) what steps were taken to curtail volumes. But as for debts (in Transnistria), Gazprom basically provides supplies for free and receives no payment. And I can see that suits them.”
Transnistria reportedly owes Gazprom $9 billion in gas supplies and keeps consumer money in a “gas account” rather than paying. Gazprom claims Moldova owes it $709 million in long-term debt, but the government has submitted that figure for an independent assessment.
Disputes over Gazprom’s pricing and supply reduction heightened tensions between Russia and Moldova, a former Soviet state located between Ukraine and EU member Romania. Since last December, Moldova’s pro-European administration has purchased gas from other European suppliers, aided by loans from EU agencies.
Moldova has secured supplies from European sources thanks to a 300 million euro ($325 million) financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It purchased a modest amount of gas from Greece last month to test the import route.
Transnistria is a breakaway state from Moldova which lies between Ukraine and Moldova. It declared independence from Moldova in 1990 when the country was still a part of the USSR, and is viewed as being militarily occupied by Russia.
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