MOSCOW — Ukraine has siphoned some of Russia's natural gas shipments to the Balkans, the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said Friday — a day after it cut supplies to Ukraine in a contract dispute.
But Ukraine's Naftogaz company said that it was only using some of the gas Russia pumps through the country to keep its pipeline system operating, and that it should not be blamed for the supply reductions to the Balkans. Naftogaz said it was Gazprom's duty to ship this so-called technical gas.
Naftogaz uses the same pipeline system to serve both domestic and transit gas customers.
On Thursday, state-controlled Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, saying Ukrainian officials had failed to pay a $2.1-billion bill. Ukrainian and Russian officials held no face-to-face talks on Friday.
Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev urged Ukraine to comply with agreements to maintain gas shipments, saying Balkan countries were "suffering" from a reduction in supplies.
Romania marked a 30 percent to 40 percent drop in Russian supplies Friday evening, the country's Transgaz transport company said, according to Realitatea TV.
Poland saw a 6 percent decrease in the gas flow from Ukraine, according to the Polish gas monopoly PGNiG and pipeline operator OGP Gaz-System.
Customers in both Poland and Romania so far have not been affected.