Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca has marked the anniversary of his country’s 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union by inaugurating a new natural-gas pipeline link with Romania.
Speaking on August 27 near the border town of Ungheni, where the pipeline crosses into Moldova from Romania, Leanca called the inauguration “an historic event” and an important step for his country’s energy independence.
Leanca said the pipeline means Moldova “can be sure that nobody can create problems for us or threaten us” with natural-gas-supply cuts.
Moldova, which angered the Kremlin in June by signing a European Union trade agreement, currently depends upon Russia for gas.
Plans call for Romania to start pumping small quantities of gas to Moldova beginning on September 1.
Leanca said Bucharest and Chisinau still must negotiate a price for gas, which he said he hoped "will be lower than Russian Gazprom's price."
The pipeline cost some 26 million euros ($35 million) and took one year to construct. The EU paid 7 million euros of the cost.
Officials said a pipeline from Ungheni to Chisinau is also planned.