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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Armenians Losing Fuel

Georgia has been siphoning off fuel headed for Armenia, which is suffering a severe energy shortage that has shut industry and left apartments without heat, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported this week.

A Georgian spokesperson, however, denied the charge.

"Practically from the beginning of the winter, Georgia has openly used gas transferred from Russia and Turkmenistan to Armenia", Nezavisimaya said.

According to the newspaper, Georgia siphons off twice as much natural gas as Armenia receives. This means that Armenia consumes 4-5 million cubic meters of gas a day while losing about 9 million cubic meters, it said.

Asked about the report in a telephone interview, Mikit Kazaryan, head of the information section of the Armenian Embassy in Moscow, said: "I don't think it is sanctioned at the level of President Eduard Shevardnadze. There are many armed groups that steal. There has been a long civil war; it is a many-sided problem".

The thefts have occurred since the beginning of 1992, when the civil war in Georgia intensified, Kazaryan said, adding that only stability in Georgia would end the problem.

The top spokesperson for the Georgian Embassy called the charges "disinformation".

"That article was simply an attempt to bring discord between our two states", said Marina Rondeli. "The Armenians have never raised this issue with Georgia". She said that Armenian-Georgian relations remained cordial.