By Astghik Bedevian
Russia has cut off supplies of natural gas to Armenia and Georgia and will not resume them before Sunday due to repairs on a pipeline feeding the two South Caucasus states, the Armenian national gas distributor said on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the ArmRosGazprom (ARG) operator gave few details of those repairs, saying only that they were not forced by an accident and had been planned in advance. Shushan Sardarian the vital deliveries will be restored within six days.
“ArmRosGazprom is officially stating that unfettered supplies to gas consumers will, in the meantime, be ensured at the expense of our [underground] gas storage facility near Abovian,” she told RFE/RL.
Russia’s Gazprom gas monopoly, which owns about 60 percent of ARG, did not immediately comment on the situation. There was also no official confirmation of the supply cutoff by the Georgian government as of Monday evening. Both Georgia and Armenia are heavily dependent on Russian gas.
Meanwhile, many parts of Yerevan were already left without gas on Monday. Sardarian attributed that to the ongoing expansion of the ARG network in and outside the Armenian capital.
“We issued a statement last week warning that some neighborhoods, including those in the city center, will have no gas for three days because of work done within the gas distribution system,” she said. “This work had been planned beforehand. It has nothing to do with the suspension of gas supplies to the republic.”