Kiev notifies Gazprom about gas transit cut-off in Lugansk
The Ukrainian operator of Gazprom's pipelines in Lugansk tells Russia it would cut-off gas transit in Lugansk due to a "force majeure".
The Ukrainian operator of Gazprom's pipelines in Lugansk informed the Russian gas giant about the termination of gas transit through the Sokhranivka entry point starting Wednesday over an alleged force majeure.
Gazprom has no information about the necessity of such a measure, the firm's spokesperson Serge Kupriyanov said Tuesday.
"Today, Gazprom received an official notification from the Transmission System Operator of Ukraine that the Ukrainian side, citing force majeure circumstances, is terminating reception of gas for transit through the Ukrainian gas measuring station Sokhranivka starting 7:00 [04:00 GMT] on May 11," Kupriyanov said.
He also revealed that the operator suggested redirecting transit to the Sudzha station, though the spokesperson reiterated that it was technically impossible to transfer the volumes to the Sudzha gas measuring station because of the Russian circulation scheme, "and the Ukrainian side knows it well."
"In light of that, Gazprom says that it has not received any confirmation of a force majeure and does not see any obstacles for continuing normal operations," Kupriyanov underlined.
According to Gazprom's spokesperson, the Russian energy giant fulfills its obligations to European consumers and supplies gas for transit as contracted, with transit services being paid for in full.
"At the same time, we have received a notification from National Joint Stock Company Naftogaz that if the Russian side continues sending gas to the gas measuring station Sokhranivka, the [gas flow] volumes at the Ukrainian exit points would be reduced accordingly," Kupriyanov noted.
Moscow had asked the West for rubles in return for its gas supplies starting April 1 after the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine. The 27-nation bloc told member states the mechanism the Kremlin proposed required opening euro and ruble accounts with state-controlled Gazprombank, which would be in violation of the sanctions imposed on the country.
Ten European firms had already opened the accounts at Gazprombank needed to meet Russia's payment demands after Gazprom announced in late April that it had completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgaria's largest natural gas distribution company Bulgargaz and Polish oil and gas company PGNiG, due to their failure to pay for gas in rubles.
Reports suggest that the Ukrainian suspension of gas export through Lugansk could be an attempt by Kiev to harm Russia's economy even further and exacerbate the situation imposed by the West's sanctions on the country.