Gas: Chișinău rebelling against Moscow?
The Republic of Moldova, which so far has been dependent on Russian gas but has been unable to reach an agreement with Moscow on terms for continued supplies, has now purchased a first "test portion" of natural gas in Poland, which will be delivered via Ukraine. Journalists believe this confrontation could have unexpected consequences.
Gas weapon on the negotiating table
Russian is engaging in political blackmail, Rzeczpospolita criticises:
“The price of gas has increased more than fivefold for Moldova since October 1, and supplies are now being made on the basis of a provisional agreement that foresees supply volumes being reduced by a third. ... In this way the Russians are trying to force the Republic of Moldova to agree to their political conditions, among other things regarding its relations with neighbouring Ukraine and Transnistria, which is controlled by Russian separatists. Since the Moldovan side is not willing to have Russia dictate its foreign policy, the gas weapon has now been put firmly on the negotiating table.”
Little Moldova against big Moscow
The writing is on the wall for the Kremlin, journalist Konstantin Eggert writes in Snob:
“If I were Putin I'd be on my guard, because in Chișinău they don't usually dare to openly confront Moscow. Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. It is heavily dependent on both Russian energy supplies and money transfers from its citizens working in Russia. But the current negotiations on a new gas supply contract are at an impasse. The government in Chișinău sees the terms set by Gazprom - or more precisely by the Kremlin - as a form of gagging. ... If even penniless Moldova is now prepared to challenge the Kremlin, this should give it pause for thought.”
Not just about geopolitics
Supplying gas to Moldova makes sense for Kyiv for two reasons, Ukrayinska Pravda:
“The first is political. Whenever a pro-European government comes to power in a country that is of geopolitical interest to Russia, that country immediately faces pressure and blackmail from Gazprom. Ukraine has experienced this first hand more than once. So helping Moldova is logical and understandable. ... The second reason is pragmatic: there are areas in Ukraine that receive their gas directly from Moldova. For example Mohyliv-Podilskyi, a town in the Vinnytsia Oblast, which lies on the border with Moldova and which receives its blue fuel from the latter's gas transport system.”