The Russian gas company Gazprom is today suspending its gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Poland. Moscow reproaches them for not having paid in rubles.
These two NATO member countries have assured that they are ready to deal with this Russian gas cut and have prepared to find other sources of supply. However, Bulgaria would be 90% dependent on Russian gas, and Poland 45%. The Bulgarian government, however, assured that consumption restriction measures were not planned “at the moment”.
“There will be no shortage of gas in Polish homes,” Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa wrote on Twitter. “From the first day of the war, we declared that we were ready for complete independence from Russian raw materials,” she added.
Refusal to pay in rubles
Since the application of European Union and United States sanctions against Russia, Moscow has announced that EU countries will have to pay for their gas in rubles from Russian accounts, or risk interrupting deliveries. A rule that many buyers of Russian gas have not accepted, under the contracts between Gazprom and its customers, in which this requirement does not appear since they were signed before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Most transactions are made in euros or dollars. Only Hungary agreed to settle its payments in rubles.
“The Bulgarian side has fully fulfilled its obligations and has made all the payments required under the contract in a timely manner,” reacted the government, which denounces “the new two-step payment procedure proposed by the Russian side “. “It does not comply with the existing contract until the end of this year and presents significant risks for the Bulgarian side, in particular that of making payments without receiving any gas delivery from the Russian side”, he said. -he adds.
According to the Associated Press, PGNiG, the Polish gas company, said it was considering legal action over Moscow’s demand for payment.
This interruption of natural gas deliveries by Russia to Bulgaria and Poland could further aggravate the risk of shortages in Europe, and push up prices.
Kiril Petkov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, denounced “blackmail (…) constituting a serious breach of contract”, declared Kiril Petkov uniting his country with the Russian company.