Ukraine’s natural gas grid operator said on Tuesday that it would stop transporting Russian gas through an eastern border entry point called Sokhranivka, raising fears of a cutoff of flows to Europe.
The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine said that, beginning Wednesday, it would quit accepting Russian gas at the entry point because the Russians were interfering in technical processes at gas facilities and endangering “the stability and safety of the entire Ukrainian gas transportation system.”
Russian troops occupy territory in eastern Ukraine through which the pipeline passes.
The company said the shutdown could close off about a third of the gas transiting from Russia through Ukraine. The company also said there was a possibility of switching the gas to another transit point.
Prospects of a cutoff of a key natural gas artery sent shivers through the markets, which were already on edge because of the war and Russia’s recent decision to stop gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria.
Natural gas prices on the Dutch TTF exchange shot up Tuesday afternoon but settled back, ending up rising 3.4 percent on the day, to 97 euros per megawatt-hour.
So far, flows of Russian gas through Ukraine have been remarkably stable despite the war. But Ukrainian officials have repeatedly complained about the actions of the Russians and warned that they risked a shutdown of the gas transmission.
In a recent interview, Yuriy Vitrenko, the chief executive of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian national energy company that has the transit contract with Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas supplier, said the occupying Russian troops were in the habit of entering gas installations and trying to interfere with their operating systems.
“They want to control everything,” he said.