CHIINU, Moldova: To help ease gas shortages caused by rising global energy prices, Moldova's parliament has approved a government-requested state of emergency until 20th November.
In the capital, Chisinau, the eternal flame at a World War II monument was extinguished due to gas shortages, the defense ministry said.
With a population of 2.6 million people, the Eastern European country of Moldova, which consumes 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year, is wedged between Romania and Ukraine and gets its gas from Russia via its pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria, as well as from Ukraine.
Supplied volumes "are only enough for 67 percent of Moldova's needs," said the head of Ukrainian state gas transmission operator GTSOU, Sergiy Makogon, as quoted by Reuters.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also told his Moldovan counterpart that Ukraine would continue supplying gas to Moldova.
Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said the decision of major Russian gas company Gazprom to increase prices from $550 per thousand cubic meters in September to $790 in October was "not justified and not realistic" for Europe's poorest country.
On Friday, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita stressed, "We face a critical situation," and told the parliament that Moldova will ask EU countries for supplies. She then thanked Romania and Ukraine for supplying some gas to Maldova.
Last month, Gazprom and its subsidiary, Moldovagaz, agreed to extend their existing contract for supplies until 31st October, but Gavrilita said Moldovagaz "is not keeping its word" and is not providing the required volumes of natural gas, as Moldova received one-third less than usual for October.
Moldova and Gazprom are continuing to negotiate, but the country had "no confidence" in the success of the talks and "must take action" or be "left without gas," she said.