NNA - Ukraine said on Tuesday it would suspend the flow of gas through a transit point which it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.
Ukraine has remained a major transit route for Russian gas to Europe even after Moscow's invasion.
GTSOU, which operates Ukraine's gas system, said it would stop shipments via the Sokhranivka route from Wednesday, declaring "force majeure", a clause invoked when a business is hit by something beyond its control.
But Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, said it was "technologically impossible" to shift all volumes to the Sudzha interconnection point further west, as GTSOU proposed.
GTSOU CEO Sergiy Makogon told Reuters that Russian occupying forces had started taking gas transiting through Ukraine and sending it to two Russia-backed separatist regions in the country's east. He did not cite evidence.
The company said it could not operate at the Novopskov gas compressor station due to "the interference of the occupying forces in technical processes", adding it could temporarily shift the affected flow to the Sudzha physical interconnection point located in territory controlled by Ukraine.
Ukraine's suspension of Russian natural gas flows through the Sokhranivka route should not have an impact on the domestic Ukrainian market, state energy firm Naftogaz head Yuriy Vitrenko told Reuters.
The state gas company in Moldova, a small nation on Ukraine's western border, said it had not received any notice from GTSOU or Gazprom that supplies would be interrupted.
The Novopskov compressor station in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine has been occupied by Russian forces and separatist fighters since soon after Moscow began what it describes as a "special military operation" in February.—Reuters