KIEV: Ukraine is to seize assets belonging to Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom in a deepening legal dispute that has stoked fears of supply disruption among EU states.
The Kremlin-controlled firm is appealing against the decision, but in the meantime Kiev has ordered officials to seize Gazprom property and shares in Ukraine under separate rulings by the country’s anti-monopoly authorities.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry also ordered its embassies to find Gazprom assets around the world with a view to potential legal action to seize them.
“In this situation with Gazprom, Ukraine’s position should be tough and consistent,” said Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman.
“Gazprom must comply with the verdict of the Stockholm arbitration court and the demands of Ukraine’s anti-monopoly agencies and the decisions of Ukrainian courts…For failing to fulfil its obligations, the Russian monopolist must bear strict responsibility.”
The value of Gazprom assets in Ukraine would be unlikely to meet the company’s compensation bill, but Kiev’s bid to seize them will deepen rancour between ex-allies that have been locked in an undeclared and multi-faceted war since 2014.
Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Elena Zerkal said on Thursday that the country’s embassies had “already been instructed to conduct a fundamental analysis: to check all registries and all open databases to find out what Gazprom has and where”.