Brussels, Oct 27, 2021 (AFP)
The European Union on Wednesday said it was giving Moldova 60 million euros to help cope with a gas crisis after Russia's Gazprom hiked prices.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen pledged the bloc's "full support" to the ex-Soviet country at a meeting with Moldova's pro-Western Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita in Brussels.
Gavrilita tweeted that she was "deeply touched by the EU show of solidarity" and that the grant was "great news for the Moldovan people".
Moldova's government has declared a state of emergency and imported gas from outside Russia -- its Communist-era master -- for the first time in its history after Gazprom hiked prices for the impoverished country.
The Kremlin has insisted the dispute is "absolutely commercial" despite fears Moscow is using its energy might to try to pull Moldova back under its sway after Gavrilita vowed closer ties to the EU.
The country's deputy prime minister was in Russia on Wednesday for talks with state-controlled Gazprom over the crisis.
Moldova's contract with Gazprom ran out at the end of September. A deal has been reached for October but the Moldovan government said Moscow is sending far less gas to the country than usual.
Last week, Russian media reported that Gazprom is threatening to cut the country off if it does not settle its debts and sign a new contract by December.
Wedged between Romania and Ukraine, the country of 2.6 million receives gas from Russia via its pro-Moscow separatist region of Transnistria and Ukraine.
It signed a contract with EU member Poland for natural gas deliveries this week, in what the government hailed as "the first acquisition of gas from alternative sources in Moldova's history".
Russian President Vladimir Putin said this month that allegations from European capitals that Moscow was using energy as a geopolitical weapon during a global supply crunch were "politically charged babble that have no grounds".
Sumber : AFP
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