(Reuters) -The export arm of Russia's Gazprom on Wednesday denied it was in breach of contract regarding gas supplies to Germany's Uniper , after Uniper launched arbitration proceedings in a bid to claim back billions of extra costs over undelivered gas supplies.
Gas has been at the centre of a geopolitical row between Russia and Europe since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February. The West has accused Russia of cutting supplies, trying to freeze Europe and stoke a cost of living crisis in a bid to undermine its support for Ukraine.
Gazprom stopped supplying gas to Germany at the end of August, when it shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that was previously the main gas link between Russia and Germany.
The Germany company, which is in the process of being nationalised in a state bailout to survive the energy crisis triggered by the Ukraine war, puts the cost of replacing Russian gas at around 11.6 billion euros ($12.02 billion) to date.
Gazprom said it intended to defend itself against claims.
"Gazprom Export does not recognise any violation of contract or the legality of Uniper's stated claims for damages," it said in a statement.
"We are studying the statement and will defend our interests within the legal framework," it added.
In the first nine months of 2022, Uniper reported a 40 billion euro ($39.3 billion) net loss, the biggest in German corporate history. Part of that was down to higher costs of replacing lost Russian gas supplies on the more expensive spot market.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)