Moscow has cut its gas exports to Poland, apparently to prevent other countries from re-exporting Russian gas to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported Thursday.
Russia halted direct gas shipments to Ukraine in June amid a pricing dispute that came with broader conflict over Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
State-controlled Gazprom is tightening the noose around Kiev before a winter that could cripple its economy if it cannot secure sufficient energy supplies, the report said.
Poland’s state gas group PGNiG said on Wednesday that Gazprom had delivered 20 per cent less gas on Monday and 24 per cent less gas on Tuesday than it was contracted to supply.
Kiev confirmed Poland had been forced to stop re-exports to Ukraine in response to these cuts.
Gazprom has denied withholding any gas.
Russia has been threatening to reduce gas flows to the European Union to prevent so-called “reverse flows” of its gas to Ukraine via Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, the report said, citing EU officials and eastern European diplomats.
The heightened pressure on Ukraine’s energy network came as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko raised hopes on Wednesday that the military conflict might be coming to an end.
He said Russia had removed the majority of the forces it had deployed in his country.
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