How Moldova Prepares to Cut Off Gas to Transnistria and What Will Happen to the Region

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Sergiu Tofilat is a Moldovan politician and expert, one of Moldova’s most authoritative public experts on the energy issue. EuroPravda journalists met with him in Chisinau to talk about Transnistria, an issue that is also a sore subject for Ukraine. Right now, the main source of funding for this Russian-occupied enclave is gas. Free gas, which they receive from Russia, and which no one dares to cut off. However, as it turns out, preparations for this are already underway. On the humanitarian crisis that is sure to happen, and what 2025 has to do with it – see the interview, which is definitely worth spending time on, although it is in Russian. The main points of Sergiu Tofilat’s statement in Ukrainian are in the text material “In 2025 we will disconnect Transnistrian ‘independence’ for non-payment. If Moscow does not do it sooner”. Since December 2022, right-bank Moldova (the Chisinau-controlled part, without Transnistria) has not purchased Russian gas. Chisinau buys it from other suppliers - for example, Romanian gas or from LNG terminals. This is a radical change. Two years ago, 100% of Moldovan purchases were from Russian gas only. Although Moldova does not buy gas from Russia, the contract between Gazprom and Moldovagaz is still in force. The Russian side does not fulfil it, but it does not break it either. The reason is very simple: if they cut off the gas, it will not hit Chisinau, but Transnistria. After all, gas is the main channel for financing the regime in there. The revenues from the “gas account” are about half of the Transnistrian budget! Without this money, that is, without supplies of “free” Russian gas, they will go bankrupt in a matter of months. A humanitarian crisis will start. Transnistrian so-called “independence” will be cut off for non-payment. Although Moldova no longer buys Russian gas, there technically remains a dependence on gas for electricity production. Chisinau imports 80% of its electricity for the government-controlled territory, and the bulk of the imports are electricity from the Moldavian Hydroelectric Power Plant in Transnistria. And it is generated by burning Russian gas. It would be possible to switch to other sources, from Romania and Ukraine, but the electricity network in the Soviet Union was built in such a way that even the Romanian transmission lines first enter Transnistria, and then go to Chisinau. To get rid of energy dependence on Russia (and Transnistria), this problem has to be solved, and it actually happens. The Moldovan government builds a high-voltage transmission line from Romania, Chisinau to Vulcanesti. In 2025 it will be completed - and Transnistria can be disconnected. We are no longer dependent on gas, and we will no longer be dependent on electricity produced from gas. Eventually this channel of financing for Tiraspol will be cut off. Therefore, when Transnistria (and Moldova in general) will be cut off the Russian gas, there will be a real humanitarian crisis. However, all this will create premises for the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and for the reunification of Moldova. It means that we already need a reintegration plan. As long as there is time, we need to prepare people who will be able to govern in the Transnistrian region, who will be able to form the local authorities. We need judges, prosecutors, teachers, doctors and so on.