Gazprom comes to Brussels

EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

Gazprom Management Committee Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Medvedev.

Gazprom comes to Brussels


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Aleksandr Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s PAO Gazprom, will be paying another visit to the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, on Wednesday.

Medvedev already came in December, trying to fix the EU’s antitrust case against Gazprom, in which the Commission accuses the state-controlled gas giant of abusing its dominance in several European markets.

The European Union gets about 40 % of the gas it purchases from Russia via the transit network in Ukraine. Five countries: the three Baltic states, Poland and Bulgaria, pay unjustified high prices for the gas they get from Russia.

Western governments have long accused Russia of using Gazprom as a political tool to bully its neighbors and sow discord among EU members. Charges against Gazprom were ready last year but left aside due to concerns about further aggravating relations with Moscow following Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine.

Brussels and Washington have both imposed sanctions on Russian officials and companies in response to the Kremlin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea territory and backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s state antimonopoly agency has imposed a $3.5 billion fine on Russia’s Gazprom for allegedly abusing its monopoly control of Ukraine’s natural-gas transit system.

In January, Gazprom informed Ukraine it owes $2.55 billion for gas supplied in the third quarter of 2015 and that Kiev has 10 days to pay. Ukraine disputed the charges, saying a contract clause requiring Kiev to pay for gas it does not use is “unlawful and void.”

Gazprom and the Ukrainian Naftohaz firm have taken the dispute to an international arbitration court in Sweden. Gazprom claims Ukraine owes a total of $29.2 billion.

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