Ukraine accused Russian energy giant Gazprom on Tuesday of illegally cutting natural gas supplies to European countries in a move that has seen EU member states scramble to fill the energy shortfall.
“Gazprom has limited gas supplies to Europe for far-fetched and illegal reasons, justifying this by saying Nord Stream 1 is not operating at full capacity,” said Yuriy Vitrenko, the head of Ukraine state energy company Naftogaz.
“This is unscrupulous behaviour on the part of Gazprom,” he added.
Gazprom announced the supply reductions in the Nord Stream pipeline earlier this month, saying the reduced flows were the result of repair work.
But EU officials believe Moscow is punishing allies of Ukraine, where Russian forces launched an invasion in February.
“Russia’s actions are a gross violation by Russia and Gazprom of their contractual obligations,” Vitrenko said.
The delivery cuts should “finally destroy the myth” that Russia is a reliable energy supplier, he added.
Several European countries are highly reliant upon Russian gas for their energy needs and countries are racing to replenish their reserves for the following winter.
Moscow has also demanded that European countries pay for gas supplies in the Russian ruble after the EU levied sanctions on Russia for its invasion.
The move was “illegal” and “violates Gazprom’s contractual obligations”, Vitrenko said Tuesday.