The flow of Russian natural gas through one key hub that feeds European homes and industries has been halted by Ukrainian authorities.
The natural gas pipeline operator in Ukraine (GTSOU) said it would halt shipments through the country’s east due to interference from “occupying forces”.
This comes after Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine were accused of siphoning off the gas at the Sokhranovka transit point.
It is the first time Kyiv has symbolically disrupted the flow of Russian energy exports to the west since the war began, and the immediate impact of the cut-off is likely to be limited because much of the gas can be directed through another pipeline.
Experts believe that Ukraine’s recent move will make it more difficult for European countries to replenish underground storage for next winter. The disruption of supply would also “haste Europe’s plans to wean itself off Russian gas imports.”
The European Commission stated on Wednesday that the unexpected interruption would affect a portion of the bloc’s gas supply, but that there was no “immediate security of supply concerns.”
On Wednesday, Gazprom said it was sending 72 million cubic meters of gas through Ukraine, a 25 percent decrease from the previous day.