Russia has stopped the supply of natural gas to Bulgaria and Poland, escalating the response to the sanctions of the West. Russia cuts gas supply to two EU nations
Gazprom, the Russian state energy giant on Wednesday stated that it has completely stopped the supply of natural gas to Bulgargaz and PGNiG, the Bulgarian and Polish gas companies . The move is following the nations' refusal for meeting Moscow's demand for payment in rubles. According to the European Commission, the move is blackmail. The nations are coordinating with other member states for a response.“Europeans can trust that we stand united and in full solidarity with the member states impacted in the face of this new challenge. Europeans can count on our full support,” stated Ursula von der Leyen. Von der Leyen is the president of the European Commission.
On Tuesday, PGNiG stated that it was informed by Gazprom that it will be suspending delivery through the Yamal pipeline from Wednesday. The gas giant also informed Bulgargaz that it will be shutting off the supply from Wednesday. According to the Bulgarian energy ministry, paying in rubles was not acceptable and would cause risks for Bulgaria.
At present, Bulgaria is not facing a severe crisis so, extreme measures on the utilization are not in action. PGNiG was successful in securing gas from other sources. Additionally, its underground storages are at 80 percent capacity.“The balance sheet is supplemented by domestic gas production and fuel reserves accumulated in underground gas storage facilities. Currently, the warehouse filling level is around 80 percent and is significantly higher than in the corresponding period in previous years,” it stated.“Poland has the necessary gas reserves and sources of supply that protect our security — we have been effectively independent of Russia for years,” tweeted Anna Moskwa. Moskwa is Poland's Climate Minister.“There will be no shortage of gas in Polish homes,” she added. How does Europe get its gas?
Since the 1960s, the European Union is Russia's biggest consumer of natural gas. Hence the nations built several pipelines for the supply. So far, Bulgaria has“fully fulfilled its obligations and has made all payments required under this contract promptly. And, diligently and as per its provisions”. Last month, Moscow delivered an ultimatum for 'unfriendly' nations that they must transact in rubles from April 1. Not paying in rubles would result in shutting off the gas supply. However, supplies were functional till Wednesday.
Additionally, the Kremlin stated that payments for gas delivered at the time would be due towards the last week of April or the starting of May. Hence, Russia did not immediately cease gas supply to Europe. On Wednesday, the gas prices in Europe jumped by almost 20 percent.“The announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail,” stated von der Leyen.“This is unjustified and unacceptable,” he added.
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