Moscow: Russian gas transiting Ukraine for Europe dropped Wednesday after Kyiv said it was suspending flows along a key route as Moscow pushes its military operation.
The move fuels fears that the Kremlin's campaign in its pro-Western neighbor could see gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine cut off at a time when prices have already soared.
Ukraine's pipeline operator GTSOU said Tuesday that it was halting gas transport at the Sokhranivka transit point as Russian occupying forces now in control were interfering with operations.
GTSOU had promised to temporarily reroute all supplies via another crossing point to "fulfil its transit obligations to European partners in full".
Figures released by the company Wednesday showed that flows at Sokhranivka had dropped to zero and were due to rise at a second point, but not enough to replace the decrease.
GTSOU said the amount of gas transiting Ukraine via these routes on Wednesday could fall by 18 percent, or 16 million cubic metres, compared to Tuesday.
Russian gas giant Gazprom had denied that there was a case for the Ukrainian operator to declare "force majeure" and said it was impossible to reroute all the supplies.
Gazprom told TASS news agency that supplies transiting Ukraine on Wednesday were at 72 million cubic metres in total, compared to 95.8 million cubic metres the day before.
Ukraine is a major supply route for Russian gas to Europe and the two sides have kept flows going even after the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.
The European Union is scrambling to lessen its reliance on Russian energy supplies, but it has shied away from imposing sanctions on crucial gas flows.