There are ulterior motives behind Gazprom's threats to cut gas supplies to Europe, the chief of Ukraine's state-owned gas firm told CNBC.
"I believe there is definitely a much wider agenda than just gas and business," Andriy Kobolyev, CEO of Naftogaz said on Thursday.
Gazprom warned earlier this week that it would turn off gas flows en-route to Europe if Ukraine failed to pay outstanding accounts.
"With the current level of supplies, prepayments will be enough only up till the end of the week," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told Russian television Thursday, according to Reuters. "If Kyiv doesn't make new payments, then naturally we won't be able to continue supplying Ukraine with gas."
However, Kobolyev told CNBC that the threat of a cut-off in supply has a geopolitical angle.
"Gazprom is trying to cut the gas supply to the EU to make sure that Ukraine will not be able to source enough gas from that market," he said.
"It's quite a costly strategy, it's very inefficient, because there are always other suppliers who would be willing to replace Gazprom gas."