Ukrainian energy minister accuses Russia of 'gas blackmail'



KYIV, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko accused Moscow on Wednesday of using "gas blackmail" for geopolitical purposes after Russia's Gazprom GAZP.M said it could start reducing gas supplies to Moldova via Ukraine from Nov. 28.

State-run Gazprom threatened its action after accusing Ukraine of withholding gas that was meant for Moldova.

"Gas blackmail is an established Russian practice that the Kremlin continues to use for geopolitical purposes," Galushchenko said in a written statement to Reuters.

"Having been defeated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the battlefield, Russia is using dirty gas lies to once again try to tarnish Ukraine's international standing."

He said: "Ukraine has for decades been, and continues to be, a reliable gas transit country for European partners."

He said Gazprom's accusations against Ukraine were groundless and "may have another geopolitical purpose - to increase political pressure on Moldova."

"After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia began to rapidly lose the European gas market. The Kremlin cannot accept this, which is why it is inventing new ways to regain its influence," he said.
Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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