Russia’s top natural gas producer Gazprom has announced its profits for the first three months of this year, and they were 41 percent down from the same period in 2013.
It blames that mostly on price cuts for gas delivered to Ukraine. At that time they were reduced in a deal with then pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich.
The months since will not have been any better for profits as the gas war turned into a real war and Kyiv refused to pay substantially higher tariffs and stopped receiving Russian gas.
The situation has now spilled over on to Poland, which has been re-exporting gas to Ukraine, and which said this week less and less gas has been arriving from Gazprom.
Rafal Pazura, a spokesman for the Polish state-controlled energy company, said: “On Wednesday we had 45 percent less than is stipulated in the contract. It’s difficult to say why that is because we have not yet had a reply to our inquiries from Gazprom. It could be just technical problems.”
The European Commission is not passing judgement on what is going on, not sure if it is technical issue or a deliberate holding back.
Gazprom, however, has not actually denied supply levels this week are lower than they were previously:
EU Commission Spokesperson Marlene Holzner said: “We have [been] informed indeed by the Polish authorities that there is a reduction of gas flows from Russia. On the discussions we have on the overall situation on the gas dispute we have proposed a date for a trilateral meeting between the Russian partners, the Ukrainian partners and us and that will be the 20th of September in Berlin.”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has used gas as an economic weapon before, and he and Gazprom have previously warned there would be consequences if EU member states re-exported gas to Ukraine.