The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending Moldova 300 million euros ($316 million) to help it secure additional gas reserves that could offset possible supply disruptions caused by Russia's war against Ukraine. Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, is almost completely dependent on Russian gas deliveries for its industry and heating needs.
Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom and Moldova have signed a gas delivery contract valid until 2026 following difficult negotiations over pricing.
"The loan will finance up to one-fifth of Moldova’s planned gas imports for 2022, which are vulnerable to potential interruption as a result of the war on Ukraine," EBRD said in a statement.
The loan to the pro-Western President Maia Sandu's government will be disbursed in two installments -- 200 million euros to avoid disruptions and a further 100 million euros to build up a strategic reserve in Ukraine or Romania.
"We are working in the summer so we have fewer worries in the winter," Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said in a post on Facebook.
The EBRD said its loan would finance up to 20 percent of Moldova's planned 2022 gas imports and would be provided to state-owned energy trader JSC Energocom to secure gas on EU hubs.
Moldova, sandwiched between EU and NATO member Romania and Ukraine, introduced a state of emergency shortly after Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The country has received hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war.
On June 23, it received, together with Ukraine, an invitation to start accession talks with the European Union.
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