Russia sharply cut gas flows to Europe via Ukraine on Tuesday in a dramatic worsening of a pricing dispute with Kiev that threatened to disrupt supplies as far west as Italy and Germany.
Russian export monopoly Gazprom said it had supplied around 65 million cubic meters (mcm) to Europe on Tuesday through ex-Soviet neighbor Ukraine, a fall of 78 percent from the 300 mcm it had been shipping since the dispute erupted on January 1.
The European Union, dependent on Russia for a quarter of its gas, urged Moscow and Kiev to find a solution this week. The head of Ukraine's state energy firm said he would fly to Moscow on Thursday, while Gazprom said it was ready to talk any time.
Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia, Greece and Croatia said flows of Russian gas via Ukraine had come to a halt, creating what Bulgaria called a "crisis situation" in the middle of winter.
EU members Austria and Romania said deliveries were down 90 percent and 75 percent respectively, and German energy firms warned there could be gas shortages in Europe's biggest economy if the dispute dragged on and sub-zero temperatures persisted.
"Even our possibilities will reach their limits if these drastic cuts in shipments last and if temperatures continue to stay at very low levels," E.ON Ruhrgas Chief Executive Bernhard Reutersberg said.
My in-laws are freezing.