Russia’s Gazprom has suspended gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria, citing the two countries’ refusal to pay in Russian roubles, prompting accusations of “blackmail” and emergency talks at the European Union headquarters in Brussels.
In a statement yesterday, the Russian energy giant said it has “completely suspended gas supplies” to Poland’s PGNiG and Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz “due to absence of payments in roubles”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the move was the result of “unprecedented unfriendly steps in the economic sphere and the financial sector, which were taken against us by unfriendly countries.”
The cut-offs are the first since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last month that “unfriendly foreign buyers” would have to transact with Gazprom in roubles instead of United States dollars and euros. The demand was a response to international sanctions over its war in Ukraine.
But only Hungary has agreed to do so, with other EU countries rejecting the demand as rewriting contracts that called for payment in euros.
Gazprom said Poland and Bulgaria had been told in a “timely manner” that payment for gas supplied from April 1 must be made it roubles.