News wire –– Moldova on Friday approved a 34% gas price hike for households to allow it to keep up with payments to its dominant supplier, Russia’s Gazprom, which has threatened to cut supplies.
Moldova has already declared a state of emergency, amended its budget and diverted funds meant to help citizens cope with higher energy prices to pay Gazprom, which increased prices and refused to delay advance payments.
On Friday, Moldova’s energy regulator approved a retroactive price hike to 14.06 lei ($3.17) from 10.46 lei per cubic metre from Jan. 1.
Vadim Cheban, head of energy firm Moldovagaz, where Gazprom has a 50% plus 1 share stake, said on Thursday the hike meant that “problems with current payments to Gazprom will not repeat”.
Tension around gas supplies have risen between the state-owned Russian giant and Moldova since the country’s new president, Maia Sandu, said she wanted to bring the former Soviet republic into the European Union.
The EU chief executive, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, criticised Moscow for what she called a “blatant attempt” to intimidate Moldova’s reformist government.
The broader stand-off between Moscow and the West spiked recently over Russia’s military buildup nearby the border with another former Soviet state and Moldova’s neighbour, Ukraine, which now wants to join the Western military alliance NATO. ($1 = 4.4322 lei)
- Reuters (Reporting by Alexander Tanas, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Nick Macfie))
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