Pipelines of a Naftogaz subsidiary in Ukraine (archive image)
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The dispute over the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine is coming to a head and causing further difficulties for Europe's energy market.
Russia's state-owned company Gazprom has now threatened sanctions, including a delivery stop.
Gazprom has been pumping less gas through the attacked country since May as part of the Russian war against Ukraine.
Both sides hold each other responsible for the lower quantities.
"Services not rendered by Ukraine should not and will not be paid," Gazprom said on Tuesday.
Because of the war, Ukraine had only approved the transit of Russian gas at one measuring station over an area completely controlled by the Ukraine.
However, Russia no longer wants to use them to pump Russian gas towards Europe.
At the beginning of September, the Ukrainian state-owned company Naftogaz filed a lawsuit against Gazprom with a Swiss arbitration court in order to obtain transit for the contractually agreed maximum delivery volume despite the lower throughput.
"Continuation of unfair behavior"
Gazprom refuses to pay these fines because the company does not see itself as responsible for the drop in supplies.
From the point of view of the Russian company, Naftogaz should rather pay for not passing through the agreed volumes.
"Gazprom regards Naftogaz's filing of a lawsuit as an unfriendly step and a continuation of the Ukrainian company's unfair behavior," the company said.
Gazprom also opposes the court venue because Switzerland has joined Western sanctions on Russia's war in Ukraine.
Should Naftogaz continue the arbitration proceedings, Gazprom believes that this would lead to Russian sanctions against the Ukrainian company.
The sanctions would prohibit Gazprom from paying for gas transit via the neighboring country.
This in turn would result in a transit stop.
A loss of transit through Ukraine would further aggravate the situation on the energy market in Europe, since the Baltic Sea pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 are also not in use.
Despite the ongoing Russian war of aggression, over 13.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas had flowed from Russia through Ukraine to the EU and Moldova since February 24.
As a result, Ukraine had generated revenue from transit.