Russia threatens Moldova after purchasing gas from Romania during a severe energy crisis

29 September 2021, Moldova, Chisinau: Maia Sandu, President of the Republic of Moldova, speaks at the Palace of the Republic at the opening of the Moldovan-German Business Conference . Federal President Steinmeier is on a two-day visit to the Republic of Moldova. Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

On Monday, Moldova bought gas from a source that wasn’t Russia’s Gazprom, and that marked the first time Moldova didn’t supply its gas from Russia. Now, Gazprom accused Moldova of provoking a crisis and demanded payment.

Reportedly, Gazprom threatened Moldova that they’d turn off the gas taps. Until this week, 100 percent of Moldova’s gas was supplied by Russia. However, their contract expired at the end of September. The two sides are still negotiating a new deal but without success.

Recently, Gazprom reduced gas supplies, triggering Moldova to declare a state of emergency for a month. Furthermore, Gazprom demands repayment of a $709m debt, which Moldova disputes. Fortunately, Moldova has other options for buying gas, such as Romania.

“It’s the worst time to have a gas crisis at home. The prices are higher than ever. We see this market crunch on a global scale. But we’ve had support. In recent years Romania built a new gas pipeline into Moldova which gives us a safety valve.”

Nicu Popesi, Moldova’s foreign minister.

Moldova wants to reduce the Russian influence

Moldova has, in particular, been under a solid Russian influence for decades. However, the country’s leadership is now pro-European, moving further away from the Kremlin’s influence.

“This year, we had parliamentary elections, and the pro-Russia party lost. We have a pro-Western party in power here. So, Russia changed its approach to the gas supply. The Kremlin wants to punish the Moldovan people for voting against a pro-Russia party, and it’s pure politics.”

“Vladimir Putin is trying to keep former Soviet countries within the area of influence of the Kremlin. We do not want to stay on our knees in front of Moscow. We must say no to Russian blackmail, and we have the opportunity now to get rid of Russian influence in Moldova.”

Sergiu Tofilat

Despite Moldova’s best interests, its own gas company, Moldovagaz, is majority-owned by Gazprom. Furthermore, more than 80 percent of Moldova’s electricity comes from Russian power plants. Certainly, Moldova will need all the help they could get to reduce the Russian influence.

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