Moldova faces state of emergency after Gazprom rejects request to postpone gas payment

Russia's Gazprom has rejected Moldova's request to reschedule its January gas payment, forcing the country to introduce a state of emergency in its energy sector, the government said on Wednesday

Chisinau - Russia's Gazprom has rejected Moldova's request to reschedule its January gas payment, forcing the country to introduce a state of emergency in its energy sector, the government said on Wednesday. Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said the country was able to pay $38 million out of a total bill of $63 million. The government said it would ask parliament on Thursday to introduce a state of emergency, giving it broad powers to manage the energy sector, such as switching gas supplies from industry to households and using budget funds to pay for the fuel. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russian gas sales to Moldova were a commercial matter between Gazprom and the former Soviet republic, but gas was being delivered and needed to be paid for: "Gazprom warned yesterday that if we don't pay the advance by January 20, it will stop gas supplies," Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said.

Moldova and Gazprom agreed a five-year contract that began on Nov. 1. It requires a prepayment by the 20th day of each month. The small ex-Soviet republic introduced an emergency situation in the energy sector for 30 days in late October. Gazprom announced its readiness to halt supply in November after Moldova delayed a prepayment. To resolve the crisis, the Moldovan parliament amended the budget to pay the debt.

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