MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine has stopped buying gas from Russian energy giant Gazprom as of Saturday, Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency reported Monday, citing a Russian energy official.
The head of Russia’s Central Dispatching Department of the Fuel and Energy Complex said Ukraine bought less gas than usual earlier this month before stopping gas purchases completely on November 9.
In the first days of November, Ukraine acquired about 9-10 million cubic meters of Russian gas daily, about 10 times less than the average amount, Nikolai Orlov said.
Alexei Grivach, who heads the Russia-based National Energy Security Foundation think tank, said the move “creates additional risks” for the transit of Russian gas to Europe during the winter season.
Tensions between the countries are running high as Ukraine has repeatedly rejected Russia’s overtures to join a Moscow-led customs union and is due to sign a series of free-trade and association deals with the European Union – a step Russia has called “suicidal.”
Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said last week that Kiev owed $882 million for supplies in August, raising fears of another politically tinged gas dispute.
Corrects 3rd paragraph to substitute billion with million.