EU: Russia uses gas as weapon of influence against Moldova

Russia has turned its gas supplies to Moldova into an instrument of influence on this country, said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. "On a global scale, the rise in prices is not a consequence of the transformation of gas supplies into weapons, but in the case of Moldova it is," Borrell said in Brussels, at a joint press conference with Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița.

Representatives of Moldova are negotiating with the Russian-owned gas company Gazprom in St. Petersburg, Gavrilița said. Chisinau hopes for an acceptable contract with the Russian Federation, she added.

Moldova's long-term contract with Gazprom, concluded in 2006 and renewed annually since then, expired on September 30. The agreement was extended for another month, during which time Chisinau bought gas from Gazprom at a price of 790 US dollars per 1000 cubic meters.

The Moldovan parliament voted to introduce a state of emergency in the country from October 22 to November 20 due to gas shortages. On October 23, Gazprom threatened to suspend further gas supplies to Moldova if it did not repay the debt and agree on the terms of a new contract.

Negotiations between Moscow and Chisinau on gas did not bring results. According to the Financial Times, Gazprom offered Moldova a discount on gas in exchange for fulfilling a number of conditions. For one, Moscow wanted Chisinau to change its free trade agreement with the European Union, as well as postpone the energy market reforms agreed with Brussels.

The European Union has promised to allocate 60 million euros to Moldova to overcome the gas crisis.

  Moldova, Gazprom, EU

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