Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The flow of Russian gas to Europe got cut down by a quarter on Wednesday, after Ukraine closed one major pipeline, citing interference by occupying Russian forces as the reason.
Despite the brutal fighting taking place in Ukraine since a full-scale Russian invasion began on 24 February, and the loss of Ukrainian territory to occupying Russian forces, this was the first time that the flow of gas going through the country was disrupted.
According to Russian State-controlled Gazprom gas export monopoly, gas deliveries are still being delivered to Europe through pipelines in Ukraine, but the volume of transit has dropped to 72 million cubic metres, down from 95.8 million last reported on Tuesday.
Ukrainian gas transit operator GTSOU announced on Tuesday it would suspend deliveries through the Sokhranovka transit point, stressing that the route is used for delivering almost a third of all gas passing to Europe through Ukraine.
The Ukrainian operators declared a “force majeure”, with the company CEO Sergiy Makogon claiming that the Russian forces had started syphoning the gas and sending it to Moscow-backed separatist regions in Ukraine.
GTSOU proposed diverting deliveries to a second route, the Sudzha entry point, which is the largest of Ukraine’s two crossing points. Sudzha lies northwest of the contested Donbas area, while parts of the Sokhranovka point pass through territory controlled by the Moscow-backed separatists.
While Gazprom said on Tuesday it would not be technically possible to shift all gas flows to Sudzha, GTSOU reminded that larger volumes had been diverted to the route in October 2020, while Sokhranovka was undergoing repairs. During the period, Sudzha reportedly delivered 165.1 million cubic metres per day, a significantly larger figure than the total volume delivered on Tuesday through bogh pipelines.