Moldovan presidentPetru Lucinschi yesterday made emergency telephone calls to hisRussian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, and to First Deputy PrimeMinister Boris Nemtsov, following a warning from Russia’s statemonopoly Gazprom to Chisinau the preceding day. Gazpromannounced that it was cutting gas deliveries by half, effectiveimmediately, until Moldova makes progress on repaying its arrears.Yeltsin and Nemtsov acceded to Lucinschi’s request that the deliveriesbe resumed in full volume, on the condition that negotiationsbe held immediately on the method and schedule of paying the arrears.A Moldovan delegation flew to Moscow yesterday to begin the negotiations.(Flux, Basapress, June 5)
According to updated figures, Moldova owes Gazprom nearly$500 million. Transdniester, which comprises less than 20 percentof Moldova’s population, accounts for more than 60 percent ofthat gas bill. Moscow has until now agreed to separate Chisinau’sarrears from those of Transdniester, tolerating the latter’s debtdelinquency as a form of indirect support for the secessionistauthorities there. Recently, however, Moscow has grown more insistentin demanding repayment through the takeover of selected Moldovanindustrial enterprises and the country’s energy infrastructureon both banks of the Dniester. A prime target is the hydropowerplant near Dubasari, which supplies 90 percent of Moldova’s electricityoutput.
Georgia Warns it Could Send Russian Troops Home.