Natural gas prices spiked across Europe, and six nations in southeastern Europe reported a complete cut-off today of natural gas shipments from Russian giant OAO Gazprom through the Ukrainian pipelines.
Russia said shipments through Ukraine has a high risk of being siphoned off, and while they didn’t name names that’s almost certainly referring to Ukraine itself, which is billions of dollars in debt to Gazprom.
Gazprom officials say they’re not really cutting off Europe so much as trying to shift the supply route to the southeast to go through Turkey, which it considers a much more reliable transit route.
In the long run this might be a good thing for European nations, heavily dependent on Russia for supply, and consequently stuck trying to bail out Ukraine to keep shipments flowing.
It’s bad timing, in mid-winter, however, and Bulgaria, one of the nations cut off in the shift, says it only had a few days of supply left. The EU insisted the shift was “completely unacceptable,” but they don’t appear to have any alternative but to accept the move.