The eternal flame of a World War II monument in the capital Chisinau has been extinguished due to a gas shortage, the Defense Ministry said on Friday.
The country of 2.6 million people wedged between Romania and Ukraine obtains gas from Russia via its pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria and Ukraine.
The head of the Ukrainian public gas transport operator GTSOU, Sergiy Makogon, told Reuters news agency that the volumes supplied “are only sufficient for 67% of Moldova’s needs”.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told his Moldovan counterpart in Kiev that Ukraine will continue to pump gas to Moldova. Moldova consumes 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Russian gas giant Gazprom raised prices from $ 550 per thousand cubic meters last month to $ 790 this month – a level Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said was “neither justified nor realistic” for the poorest country in Europe.
“We are facing a critical situation,” Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said on Friday.
She told parliament that Moldova would seek supplies from EU countries and thanked Romania and Ukraine for already providing gas.
While Gazprom and its subsidiary Moldovagaz agreed last month to extend their supply contract until October 31, Gavrilita said Moldovagaz “is breaking its word”.
The company is not delivering the required volumes of natural gas, she said, with Moldova receiving a third less than usual for October.
The Prime Minister said that Moldova and Gazprom were continuing negotiations but that the ex-Soviet country had “no confidence” in the success of the talks and “must take action” or end up “without gas”.
The month-long state of emergency gives Moldovan utility company Energocom the power to obtain gas from other countries.
Gas shortages in the country come amid the surge in gas prices that some in Europe have blamed on Moscow failing to provide additional supplies to put pressure on the continent.
Some experts said Russia had raised prices under pressure on Moldova to elect a pro-European president in Maia Sandu last year, who said she wanted to fold the breakaway region of Transnistria back to Moldova. .
Igor Dodon, the former president defeated by Sandu, called the decision to extinguish the Eternal Flame a “shame” and accused the current authorities of seeking to save money on “sacred values”.
The country has long been divided over closer ties with the EU or over maintaining relations with Soviet-era ruler Moscow.