Kremlin cuts off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria following fall out over rubles

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Moscow cut off gas supplies to Warsaw and Sofia as tensions between Russia and the West escalate over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The move is the first time the Kremlin has opted to restrict gas supplies to any country since Russia launched its onslaught against the ex-Soviet state.

According to the Telegraph, Poland’s Climate and Energy Minister Anna Moskwa confirmed Warsaw was no longer receiving supplies through the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

The 2,552-mile-long pipeline, which stretches from Russia to Poland and cuts through Belarus, pumps gas into Poland and Germany.

Bulgaria’s Economy Minister announced Sofia had also been cut off from supplies on Tuesday night.

However, the Balkan country has also insisted it has complied with Russian terms.

The Ministry in Sofia said: “Bulgargaz received a notification today, April 26, that natural gas supplies from Gazprom Export will be suspended starting April 27.

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“The Bulgarian side has fully met its obligations and has made all payments required under its current contract in a timely manner, strictly and in accordance with its terms.”

Poland has not appeared to comply with Russian demands.

Piotr Naimski, Warsaw’s Commissioner for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, revealed Poland would not pay in Russian rubles and claimed the country was prepared for any retaliation from the Kremlin.

Mr Naimski said: “We will not pay.

“Various possibilities and risks are being considered and we’re prepared for them.

“If it is necessary, and if such a decision is made, we’re able to cut ourselves off from the gas supplies at a moment’s notice, and we’re ready for Russian actions, including an interruption in supplies.”

The Polish Prime Minister has also waded into the most recent rise in tension between Warsaw and Moscow.

Mateusz Morawiecki, who replaced Beata Szydlo as Prime Minister in December 2017, said: “We have been threatened with the suspension of gas supplies by Gazprom and have taken steps to diversify supplies.

“We will protect Poland against this Russian measure.”

Warsaw also announced it would include Gazprom, which is majority state-owned and based in St Petersburg, on a new list of economic sanctions against 50 businesses and oligarchs in Russia.

Poland is also particularly dependent on Russian supplies.

According to the Forum Energii think tank, Poland procures almost half of its gas supplies from Russia.

Despite its gas dependency, Warsaw has repeatedly urged for the EU to immediately embargo imports of Russian fossil fuels in a bid to hamper Putin’s war efforts.

Poland will replace its Russian supplies with gas from Norway via the new Baltic Pipe, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

The European Commission has called on EU member states, which has included Poland since its accession in 2004 and Bulgaria since 2007, to continue to pay Russia in € to avoid breaching sanctions.

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