Russian energy giant Gazprom says it has suspended gas supplies in order to Latvia – the latest EU country to experience such action amid tensions over Ukraine.
Gazprom accused Latvia of violating conditions of purchase, but gave no details of that alleged violation.
Latvia relies on neighbouring Russia for natural gas imports, but its government says it does not expect Gazprom’s move to have a major impact.
Meanwhile, Ukraine states it killed 170 Russian troops in the past 24 hours.
Ukraine’s military also said its forces had destroyed two Russian arms dumps in the Kherson area.
Ukraine offers stepped up efforts to push the Russians out of Kherson, a major strategic city in the south. The BBC was unable to verify the latest Ukrainian claims.
The UK Ministry of Defence says Ruskies forces have probably established 2 pontoon bridges and a ferry system to enable them to resupply Kherson, after Ukrainian rockets damaged key bridges within recent days.
EU states accuse Russian federation of weaponising gas exports in retaliation for far-reaching Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
In Latvia, gas forms only 27% of energy consumption. Edijs Saicans, a senior Latvian economics ministry official quoted by Reuters news agency, said Gazprom’s move on Saturday was not expected to have a major impact.
Nato has bolstered forces in Latvia and the Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, as the region provides long been seen as a potential flashpoint with Russia.
Ethnic Russians form large minorities in the Baltic states. Those states – formerly part of the Soviet Union – plan in order to stop importing Russian gas next year.
Gazprom sharply cut gas deliveries to Europe via the particular Nord Stream pipeline on Wednesday to about 20% of its capacity.
The EU rejects Russia’s demand that member says pay for Gazprom gasoline in roubles, not euros. The EU says there is no contractual condition for rouble payments.
On Thursday the Latvian fuel utility Latvijas Gaze said it was buying European gas but paying inside euros.
Since Russia’s February invasion associated with Ukraine and the tightening of Western sanctions, Gazprom has suspended gas transport to Bulgaria, Finland, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands more than non-payment in roubles. The ussr has also halted gas sales to Shell Energy Europe in Germany.
The EU is now striving to boost gas imports from elsewhere, including liquefied natural gasoline (LNG) from Norway, Qatar as well as the US.