Russian supplies of electricity to Georgia are likely to be cut off for around 20 days. It has emerged during repairs to a gas pipeline damaged by explosions that the electricity flow was damaged as well.
Gas should be restored to Georgia within a matter of days. Meanwhile Georgians are getting by on stockpiles and emergency supplies from neighbouring Azerbaijan. Moscow has blamed the pipeline blasts on pro-Chechen militants in North Ossetia, but Tbilisi has angrily accused the Kremlin of being behind the attack. The incident has further poisoned bilateral relations, triggering anti-Russian protests in Georgia. The Kremlin denies Tbilisi’s claim that it is using gas as a political weapon against pro-Western ex-Soviet states such as Georgia and Ukraine. Although Kiev and Moscow signed a deal to resolve their energy dispute a few weeks ago, tensions remain. The head of exports at Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled monopoly, has effectively accused Ukraine of siphoning off supplies meant for onward transit. “More gas stays in Ukraine than the agreement stipulates. You can call that lost gas, or stolen gas, you can call that what you like,” said Alexander Medvedev. Ukraine has in the past denied such allegations.