The European Union on Wednesday opened an antitrust case against Russia's state-controlled Gazprom energy giant amid worsening relations between Brussels and Moscow.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Gazprom's behavior in central and eastern European member states, where the company sometimes almost fully controls the gas market, amounts to an abuse of its dominant position.
Vestager said she is concerned that Gazprom imposes contractual obligations "preventing gas from flowing from certain Central Eastern European countries to others, hindering cross-border competition" and allowing the multinational to charge unfair prices.
The move comes at a time when the EU has already imposed economic and political sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the violence in eastern Ukraine.
Gazprom has 12 weeks to respond to Wednesday's EU allegations.